Fact check: YouTube videos falsely say military seized election servers in Germany

Posted November 24, 2020 3:08 p.m. EST
Updated November 24, 2020 5:02 p.m. EST

— Voting equipment company Dominion Voting Systems has been at the center of unfounded conspiracy theories – many spread by President Donald Trump – that claim Democrats committed voter fraud and stole the 2020 election for Joe Biden.

There’s no evidence that Dominion’s systems were used nefariously in the election, but false claims about the company keep coming.

Posts circulating online claim that the U.S. military raided the Spanish election software company Scytl in Germany and seized its servers for evidence of manipulation in the 2020 U.S. elections. Some posts claim the servers have ties to Dominion.

This is false. Scytl said in a statement that the U.S. military hasn’t seized anything and that it doesn’t have offices in Germany. The U.S. Army, which was identified in some posts as the military branch supposedly involved, denied to the Associated Press that such an event took place.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

The rumor was fueled by an article on a website called "GreatGameIndia" titled "INTEL: US Military Raided Scytl Servers in Germany For Evidence After Vote Switching Scandal." It said, "votes cast by Americans in 2020 US election were counted by a bankrupt Spanish company Scytl in Spain."

The story pointed to comments made by Republican Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who appeared on conservative TV channel Newsmax. A clip of the interview shows Gohmert saying that he was told there was "a tweet in German from Germany that the U.S. Army had gone in and seized the Syctl server."

The clip’s description on YouTube reads: "People on the ground in Germany report that Scytl, which hosting YOUR elections data Improperly through Spain, was raided by a large US ARMY force & their Servers were Seized in Frankfurt."

An Army spokesperson told the AP that the claims in the posts are false.

Scytl, a software company based in Barcelona, has eight offices around the world but none in Germany, according to its website. It has delivered election modernization projects for U.S. elections since 2008.

But none of these projects involve tallying votes, the company said. The services include online initiatives like election worker training, electronic ballot delivery and real-time, visual representation of votes.

In a statement rejecting the claims, Scytl said that its technologies for the U.S. are hosted and managed domestically by a Tampa-based subsidiary, SOE Software, and that it does not provide any voting machines in the U.S. or online voting services for U.S. elections.

"We do not have servers or offices in Frankfurt," the company added. "The US army has not seized anything from Scytl in Barcelona, Frankfurt or anywhere else."

Scytl and Dominion share no ties, according to statements from both companies.

The federal Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council executive committee and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council said in a joint statement that the election was the most secure in U.S. history and that there is "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

PolitiFact: Pants on Fire

PolitiFact ruling

Social media users are sharing articles and videos claiming that the U.S. military seized Scytl servers in Germany and that the company has ties to Dominion Voting Systems.

The Army and Scytl said the claim is false, and the company has no offices in Germany or connection to Dominion. We rate this Pants on Fire!

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