July 26, 2021

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The General Enthusiasts

Fact check: Myanmar did not use Dominion Voting Systems in general election

3 min read

Social media users have been sharing posts claiming that machines from Dominion Voting Systems were used in the 2020 Myanmar general election, implying that they were linked to the allegations of election fraud made by the country’s army when it seized power in a military coup on Feb. 1, 2021. Dominion Voting Systems confirmed the claim is untrue, and Myanmar’s election was carried out with paper ballots counted by hand, not electronically, making this link illogical.

Electoral workers start to count votes inside a polling station during the general election in Yangon, Myanmar, November 8, 2020.?REUTERS/Shwe Paw Mya Tin

The posts ( here , here , here , t.me/greatawakeninggenhyt/896 , here , here and here ) create a comparison to the U.S. by saying “The Burmese military has arrested their countries [sic] leaders for election fraud. And they used Dominion Machines. Are you paying attention yet?”; “Myanmar used Dominion Voting Systems”; or “Military takes charge … Voter Fraud… They used Dominion Voting Machines… Deja vu.”

After the U.S. general election in November 2020, multiple false claims about Dominion circulated on social media. Some Reuters fact checks debunking this misinformation can be seen here , here , and here .

In December 2020, an senior employee of Dominion Voting Systems sued Trump’s re-election campaign, including attorney Sidney Powell and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in a Colorado court for defamation and spreading false conspiracy theories that Trump lost to Joe Biden in November’s presidential election (here).

A Dominion Voting Systems spokesperson told Reuters these latest posts were “yet another false claim being spread across social media.”

In Myanmar, leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party were detained in an early morning raid on Feb. 1, 2020. The move came after Myanmar’s powerful military triggered worry about a coup last week after threatening to “take action” over alleged fraud in a November election won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). A Reuters explainer on the coup in Myanmar is visible here .

Myanmar’s election commission on Jan. 28 had rejected allegations by the country’s military of vote fraud in last year’s election and said there were no errors big enough to impact the credibility of the vote (here).

“In this election, weaknesses and errors in voters lists cannot cause voting fraud,” the commission said in a six-page statement on its Facebook page, adding voting was conducted transparently before election observers. It said it was investigating 287 complaints and that errors like duplicated names had appeared in some lists, but voters could not cast multiple ballots with fingers marked in indelible ink.

A Reuters correspondent from the Myanmar bureau explained to the Fact Check team that no election-related technology was used in the 2020 Myanmar general elections. They said, “it was paper ballots counted manually.”

According to a report on the 2020 Myanmar general election compiled by The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), a Stockholm-based international organization led by the “commitment to the rule of law, human rights, the basic principles of democratic pluralism and strengthening democracy” (www.idea.int/about-us), no election-related technology was used at all in the southeast Asian country.

The voting process is explained in section 14 on pages 19 to 23 in the EU-funded publication here . The process outlines how paper ballots were to be counted by hand.

VERDICT

False. Dominion Voting Systems confirmed it did not operate in Myanmar. Moreover, Dominion provides electronic counting mechanisms for elections and Myanmar’s general election paper ballots were counted manually.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

Update Feb 3: this article has been updated to include comment from a Reuters correspondent on the vote counting process in the Myanmar general election.

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