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Privately held
Industry Technology, Electronic voting
Headquarters London, United Kingdom[1]
Key people
Antonio Mugica, CEO
Products "Elections Solutions", "Identity Management Solutions", "Solutions for Smart Cities"

Smartmatic (also referred as Smartmatic Corp. or Smartmatic International) is a Venezuelan[2][3] multinational company that is headquartered in London and officially incorporated in April 11, 2000 in the State of Delaware,[4] United States that specializes in the design and deployment of complex purpose-specific technology solutions aimed at helping governments to fulfill their commitments toward their citizens.

It is organized around three business units: Electronic voting systems, Smart Cities: including Public Safety and Public Transportation Solutions, and Identity management systems for people registration and authentication for government applications.

Smartmatic serves its customers with a network of over 600 employees plus business partners from its offices and R&D labs in the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Barbados, Panama, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Estonia and Taiwan.


In the late 1990s, three Venezuelans, Antonio Mugica, Alfredo José Anzola, and Roger Pinate created a system where thousands of inputs could be placed into a network simultaneously. Early trials of this system were used on ATMs in Mexico, though after the 2000 United States presidential election, the Venezuelans proposed to dedicate the system toward electoral functions. To do this, Smartmatic formed the SBC organization that was owned 51% by Smartmatic, 47% Venezuelan state telecommunications organization CANTV and 2% by a Bolivarian Government of Venezuela affiliated company, Bizta, which was also owned by the owners of Smartmatic which had a Bolivarian government board member.[2]


Elections Solutions[edit]

The electoral business unit combines a complex project management methodology with an electronic voting system that includes hardware (SAES voting machines), election management software, and canvassing software for a central location's servers. It includes several security mechanisms, such as encryption using a public key infrastructure (PKI) with 2048-bit digital certificates.

The hardware includes voting machine models with voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), redundant memory, integrated printer, a touch screen supporting multiple-choice election processes, tactile remote control, earphones and sip and puff devices for disabled voters, and an add-on voting pad device for use in complex elections.

The software consists of an Electoral Management System (EMS), which manages the data on candidates, electoral seats and political parties, etc., that define the configuration of an election. The Election Day Management Platform (EDMP) suite of management tools directs technicians and operators installing and manning the voting centers using voting machines. It monitors, in real time, all aspects of voting machine use: installation, opening, closing and auditing of the polling booths, the transmission of results and the backing up of data during the event.

Solutions for Smart Cities[edit]

This unit comprises security applications for government critical mission projects, such as Public Safety Platforms, Public Transport Systems, Emergency Management Solutions and Census Projects. The services portfolio includes concept and design, technology development, technology implementation and operation, as well as maintenance and support. Smartmatic’s Unified Security Platform automates the interaction between network devices, operators, end users, and security-specific applications. It is designed to provide an end-to-end solution for emergency response using technology to support the handling of emergency calls and to provide immediate responses. It includes hardware, software and deployment services for solutions aiming to improve citizen's quality of life.

Identity management[edit]

Smartmatic Identity Management Solutions enables government agencies to manage people's biographic and biometric information securely. Products and services include identity card programs, immigration and border control, welfare and social benefit distribution programs, civil and voter registration. It uses both specialized mobile devices for enrollment of people in field applications and an integrated system for stationary use. It includes ID management software, and a back-office system for data consolidation and safeguard.


The company was contracted in 2004 for the automation of electoral processes in Venezuela. Since 2004, its election technology has been used in local and national elections in: Venezuela, United States , Belgium, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, the United Kingdom, Mexico and the Philippines.


On October 14, 2012, Belgium utilized Smartmatic’s technology and managed services to carry out regional elections in 153 communes in the Flanders and Brussels-Capital regions.[citation needed]


The same day as Venezuela's 2012 election, Smartmatic provided election support for data and voice communications to the 16 most isolated states in Brazil, and also battery power support to voting machines.[citation needed] These services implied hiring and training 14,000 technicians who worked at 480,000 polling stations, servicing over 500,000 pieces of election equipment.[citation needed]


The project to automate the Philippine elections had been met with vociferous opposition from the beginning. Several groups which were benefiting from the traditionally fraudulent conduct of Philippines polls[5] found themselves facing great political and economic loss with the promised transparency and auditability of the automated elections system. The adoption of Smartmatic was overseen by the Philippines' the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

2008 Philippine regional elections[edit]

On August 11, 2008, automated regional elections were held in the Philippines' Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). In the Maguindanao province, voters used Smartmatic's electronic voting machines,[6] while voters in the other 5 provinces (Shariff Kabunsuan, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) used manually marked ballots processed using OMR technology. The overall reaction of both the public and authorities was positive toward the solution.[7][8]

2010 Philippine general election[edit]

In May 2010, Smartmatic automated the National Elections in the Republic of the Philippines. Election Day was Monday, May 10, 2010 with live, full coverage from ABS-CBN, ANC and GMA Network. The elected president became the 15th President of the Philippines, succeeding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was barred from seeking re-election due to term restrictions. The successor of the Vice-President Noli de Castro is the 15th Vice President of the Philippines. Legislators elected in these 2010 elections joined the senators of the 2007 elections and comprised the 15th Congress of the Philippines.[citation needed]

On June 29, 2010, the Philippine Computer Society (PCS) filed a complaint with the country's Ombudsman against 17 officials of the Commission on Elections and the Smartmatic-TIM Corp. for alleged “incompetence,” graft and unethical conduct.[9] A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that a majority (75%) of Filipinos were very satisfied with the conduct of the automated elections.[10] The survey also found that voters regarded the 2010 elections one of the most-credible and transparent in Philippine history.

2016 Philippine presidential election[edit]

By this time, only the truly uninformed would still find Smartmatic’s combination of PCOS/VCM and CCS an acceptable solution to the automation of Philippine elections. We used this solution in the last three National and Local Elections and in all three, we experienced “glitches” and lack of transparency that convinced us of the system’s unreliability and its vulnerability to tampering.

The Manila Times [11]

For the country’s third national automated elections in the 2016 Philippine presidential election, which was held on May 9, 2016, a total of 92,509 vote-counting machines (VCMs) were deployed across an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, while 5,500 VCMs served as back-up voting machines. For Overseas Absentee Voting Act (OAV), 130 VCMs were deployed in 18 countries.[12] There were major challenges faced prior to elections, chief of which was the late-stage Supreme Court ruling that required each voting machine to print a receipt.[13] The ruling was handed down on March 17, 2016, giving Comelec and Smartmatic less than two months to prepare. By election night, about 86% of election data had already been transmitted, prompting winners in local municipalities to be proclaimed around the same time. Also by election night, Filipinos already knew who the winning president was, leading other candidates to concede within 24 hours. This concession of several candidates signified acceptance of results that validated the credibility of the automation system. Over 20,000 candidates conceded.[citation needed] Rodrigo Duterte became the 16th President of the Philippines, succeeding Benigno Aquino III, while the 16th Vice-President succeeded Jejomar Binay. Legislators elected in the 2016 elections joined the senators elected in the 2013 midterm elections and comprised the 16th Congress of the Philippines.

Days after the May 2016 elections, Bongbong Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, alleged that Smartmatic had tampered with the votes which cost him being elected Vice President of the Philippines and criminal proceedings were filed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against Comelec personnel as well as Smartmatic employees, with Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon stating that Smartmatic had violated protocols.[3] After a Smartmatic employee fled the country, Bongbong Marcos accused the Comlec for his "escape", though two other Smartmatic personnel, one from Venezuela and the other from Israel, were present for criminal proceedings.[14] In July 2016, it was revealed that Smartmatic funneled votes through "unofficial servers".[15] In October 2016, The Manila Times called on all members of Comelec to resign due to the "innumerable controversies since its adoption of the Smartmatic-based Automated Election System".[16]


In October 2012, Smartmatic participated in the elections of 3 countries. In Venezuela, October 7, for the first time in the world, national elections were carried out with biometric voter authentication to activate the voting machines.[citation needed] Out of 18,903,143 citizens registered to vote in the presidential elections, voter turnout was around 81%, both record figures in Venezuelan electoral history.

Other endeavors[edit]

USP (from Smartmatic Security Solutions) was installed in more than 500 branches of Santander-Serfin Bank, (Mexico).[citation needed] Since 2006, the Office of the Mayor of Metropolitan Caracas in Venezuela began the installation of the integrated public security system that helps authorities to provide immediate response to citizens whose safety has been jeopardized.[citation needed] In 2011, The District of Cartagena in Colombia selected Smartmatic as technology provider for the new Financial Administration Service of the Integrated Mass Transit System (Transcaribe), which will operate based on a highly automated fare collection and fleet control system.[17]

The Smartmatic Identity Management Solution has been deployed in Bolivia (Biometric Voter Registration for the Bolivian National Electoral Court (July 2009 – October 2009) with 5.2 million people registered); Mexico (Provision of enrollment terminals and software for the National ID Program of the Secretariat of Governance (Dec 2009 – Dec 2012) with 100 million people to be registered); and Zambia (Provision of enrollment terminals and software for Digital Mobile Voter Registration contracted by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) & Electoral Commission of Zambia (February 2010 – October 2010).[citation needed]



Links to the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela have raised suspicions that Smartmatic may have been funded by the Bolivarian government. The company went from a small start-up to a major electronic voting company in a few years.[2] Venezuelan previously existing laws that were established before the Bolivarian Revolution stated that automated voting was required in Venezuela, with United States firm Election Systems & Software and Spanish company Indra Sistemas already being used in the country.[2] However, after Venezuelans demanded a recall referendum against President Hugo Chávez, the pro-Chávez electoral board, the National Electoral Council (CNE), contracted Smartmatic to produce automated voting machines paying the company $128 million, with Smartmatic retrofitting gambling machines to be used for the process.[2] Affiliations with Bolivarian government politicians raised suspicions, with instances of an interior vice minister, Morris Loyo, being hired to lobby for Smartmatic contracts and with the company paying for the CNE president Jorge Rodríguez to stay at a private resort in Boca Raton, Florida.[2]

2004 Venezuela recall referendum[edit]

After the presidential recall referendum of 2004 in Venezuela, some controversy was raised about the use of electronic voting (SAES voting machines) in that country. The legal basis for this process of automation is found in Article 33(42) of the LOPE (2002), and in Article 154 of the LOSPP (1988).[citation needed]

After the referendum, independent election monitors claimed fraud and submitted appeals, and statistical evaluations including a peer-reviewed article in 2006[18] and a special section of 6-peer-reviewed article in 2011[19] concluded that it was likely that electronic election fraud had been committed. The analysis of communication patterns allowed for the hypothesis that the data in the machines could have been changed remotely, while another of the articles suggested that the outcome could have been altered from about 60% against the sitting president, to 58% for the sitting president.

Yet, representatives from international election observation agencies attested that the election conducted using SAES was at that time fair, accurate and compliant with the accepted timing and reliability criteria. These agencies included the Carter Center,[20] the Organization of American States (OAS),[21] and the European Union (EU).[22][23][24][25][26]

Acquisition and divestiture of Sequoia[edit]

In 2005, Smartmatic acquired Sequoia Voting Systems, one of the leading US companies in automated voting products.[27] Following this acquisition, Carolyn B. Maloney requested an investigation to determine whether the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a committee of the United States Department of the Treasury that reviews whether companies in the United States are being controlled by foreign individuals, had followed correct processes to green-light sale of Sequoia to Smartmatic, which was described as having " possible ties to the Venezuelan government".[28]

The investigation was prompted after a March 2006 electoral fiasco in Chicago and Cook County, where a percentage of the machines involved were manufactured by Sequoia, and Sequoia provided technical assistance, some by a number of Venezuelan nationals flown in for the event.[29] According to Sequoia, the tabulation problems were due to human error, as a post-election check identified only three mechanical problems in 1000 machines checked.[29] Election officials blamed poor training.[30] Some problems with the election were later blamed on a software component, developed in Venezuela, for transmitting the voting results to a central computer.[31] A local alderman said the troubles could be due to an "international conspiracy".[29]

After initially cooperating with the CFIUS investigation in October 2006, particularly to clarify the company's ownership,[32] Smartmatic withdrew in December 2006 and sold Sequoia.[33]

Among other vendors, in the 2nd quarter of 2009, Smartmatic and Sequoia competed against each other for the contract to provide voting machines and services to the 2010 national elections in the Philippines,[34] one of the largest contracts ever in the voting technology industry. In the bidding process, Sequoia was disqualified early on,[35] while Smartmatic was declared the winner.[36][37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Smartmatic Worldwide Headquarters". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Brownfield, William (10 July 2006). CARACAS' VIEW OF SMARTMATIC AND ITS VOTING MACHINES. Caracas, Venezuela: Embassy of the United States, Caracas. 
  3. ^ a b Uy, Jocelyn R. (14 May 2016). "Smartmatic faces probe". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Department of State - Delaware Division of Corporations - General Information Name Search
  5. ^ Pimentel says automation will put fraud syndicates out of business
  6. ^ Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao 2008 Philippines
  7. ^ Manila Standard Today: Automated machines delivered — Comelec
  8. ^ Manila Standard Today: E-voting makes a splash
  9. ^ Inquirer.Net: Graft raps filed vs Smartmatic, Comelec execs
  10. ^ SWS: 3 out of 4 Pinoys satisfied with May polls
  11. ^ "Never again! …to Smartmatic - The Manila Times Online". The Manila Times. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  12. ^ Smartmatic: Philippines now global leader in automated polls
  13. ^ Supreme Court affirms order for Comelec to print voter's receipts
  14. ^ "Comelec hit for escape of Smartmatic engineer - The Manila Times Online". The Manila Times. 19 June 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  15. ^ Pilapil, Jaime (22 July 2016). "Smartmatic admits using unofficial servers". The Manila Times. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "Defying the Supreme Court, the Comelec should resign en banc - The Manila Times Online". The Manila Times. 16 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  17. ^ Smartmatic Signs Deal for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Colombia
  18. ^ Maria M. Febres Cordero, Bernardo Márquez (2006), "A Statistical Approach to Assess Referendum Results: the Venezuelan Recall Referendum 2004", International Statistical Review, 74(3)
  19. ^ Special Section: Revisiting the 2004 Venezuelan Referendum, Statistical Science, 26(4), November 2011
  20. ^ 41102_Report
  21. ^
  22. ^ Comentarios generales:
  23. ^ Carter Center Observing the Venezuela Presidential Recall Referendum (2004)
  24. ^ OAS Report Venezuela Presidential Recall Referendum
  25. ^ EU EOM Venezuelan Parliamentary Elections 2005
  26. ^ EU EOM Final Report Venezuela 2006
  27. ^ Business Wire, 9 March 2005, Sequoia Voting Systems and Smartmatic Combine to Form Global Leader in Electronic Voting Solutions
  28. ^ U.S. Voting Machine Company’s Possible Ties to Foreign Government Draws Congressional Inquiry
  29. ^ a b c ABC Local, 7 April 2006, Alderman: Election Day troubles could be part of 'international conspiracy'
  30. ^ Chicago Tribune, 23 March 2006, New machines, poor training slowed count: Precincts uncounted even after Wednesday
  31. ^ New York Times, 29 October 2006, U.S. Investigates Voting Machines’ Venezuela Ties
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ Bob Davis, Wall Street Journal, 22 December 2006, Smartmatic to Shed U.S. Unit, End Probe into Venezuelan Links
  34. ^ Comelec disqualifies 2 more bidders for P11-billion automation contract The Philippine Star (May 06, 2009)
  35. ^ 2010 Elections: Poll Automation Timeline GMA Research (July 3, 2009)
  36. ^ Smartmatic/TIM consortium is virtually the winner of the poll automation contract -- Comelec Positive News Media, Philippines (June 4, 2009)
  37. ^ The 2010 Automated Polls Computerworld Philippines (July 21, 2009)

External links[edit]