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VERIFY: Claims about Scytl and election servers in Germany are false

All parties involved, plus a federal agency, said the claims of election tampering are false.

A number of headlines and social media posts have parroted the claim that American Army forces raided a tech company in Germany and found evidence the United States election had been tampered with in some way.

Many of these claims say votes were switched during the process of being sent to Europe and then back to the United States.

The claim was even repeated by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. He added to it, stating that the Barcelona-based company was moving its headquarters to Frankfurt, Germany.

THE QUESTION

Did the U.S. Army raid Scytl servers in Frankfurt, Germany to find evidence that the election had been tampered with.

THE ANSWER

No. The former director of the government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said it was false. Both the U.S. Army and Scytl have denied this has happened. 

WHAT WE FOUND

When the VERIFY team asked a U.S. Army spokesperson if the Army had raided a tech company in Germany to obtain election information, they said, “Those allegations are false."

Chris Krebs, the director of CISA who was fired by President Donald Trump Tuesday, said on Twitter the rumor was false. CISA, which was established by a bill Trump signed into law in 2018 and overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, has been fact-checking election rumors on its website.

Scytl itself issued a press release on November 13 denying the rumors. It claims it does not tabulate, tally or count votes in the United States.

And that lines up with previous information released by Scytl. A few days earlier on November 10, before the rumor began to circulate online, Scytl issued a press release going over its involvement in the U.S. elections and the numbers of voters impacted. That press release said Scytl provided seven states with election night reporting technology, provided four states with online election worker training, online voter education for select counties in eight states and eBallot delivery to 17,000 voters in three states.

That’s consistent with what Scytl went on to say in the November 13 release. Its election night reporting technology allows election officials to release results -- results already tallied by election officials by that time -- to the public in real time. The electronic ballot delivery services it provides allow remote voters such as military members to receive ballots electronically and return them in whichever way is compliant with state election laws.

Scytl has provided these services to states and counties in the United States since 2008. This includes the 2016 and 2018 elections.

Scytl also said in its November 13 press release that it do not have servers or offices in Frankfurt, Germany. Scytl said it is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain and its technologies implemented in the United States are hosted and managed by subsidiary SOE Software in Tampa, Fla.

The only reference to a Scytl server in Frankfurt is in a highlight of its election night reporting for the 2019 European Parliament elections. To accomplish that Scytl could do so without a hitch, the company said it “set up the data collection center in Barcelona, as well as an emergency back-up center in Frankfurt.” While it appears the back-up data center was set-up for the European Parliamentary elections, that server hasn’t been mentioned by Scytl since. It’s plausible that the server still exists or that it was only temporary and Scytl has since parted with it.

Regardless, there are no offices or headquarters in Frankfurt for the company. Scytl’s contact page still shows the main headquarters in Barcelona and mentions nothing about Frankfurt. It was acquired by another Spanish company, Service Point Solutions, in October. That company is also based in Barcelona. Neither company has announced any kind of move to Frankfurt.

And SOE Software is indeed a subsidiary of Scytl. It acquired SOE Software in 2012. The address to the Tampa offices linked on the Scytl website is the address for SOE Software.

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BOTTOM LINE

The now former director of a federal agency in charge of cybersecurity that has been fact-checking election rumors has said the claim is false. The U.S. Army has said the claim is false. Scytl has also said it’s false.

The technology Scytl provides American states and counties with for elections does not offer them a means to alter the vote results.

While Scytl definitely had back-up data servers in Frankfurt at one point, it denied having those servers now. The company definitely doesn't have offices in Frankfurt and have not announced any plans to move.

All evidence points to this claim being false. So far, no evidence has been revealed that shows this raid ever actually happened.

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