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This photo is circulating across Facebook:

enter image description here

The new owners [sic] of Ohio's voting machines under the brand name HART Intercivic is none other than Tagg Romney.

We may not be able to buy this election, but we can buy the company that does the counting !

Is it true that members of the Romney family own this company? Are these machines actually used in Ohio?

Post is related to a rapidly changing event.

  • There is a Forbes article about this. – Oliver_C Oct 22 '12 at 16:04
  • And a Weekly Standard article denying the connection. – Oddthinking Oct 23 '12 at 15:02
  • Snopes has weighed in, saying it is false. – Oddthinking Oct 25 '12 at 4:23
  • ... Of course, the better question likely is "Are the machines designed or used in such a fashion to allow vote fraud?". It's completely possible to build them in such a way as to be 'immune' to cheating. – Clockwork-Muse Nov 27 '12 at 22:28
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    @Clockwork-Muse I would be extremely interested to see anyone build a system that is completely immune to cheating. – SpellingD Nov 30 '12 at 21:30
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According to wikipedia

Hart InterCivic Inc. is a privately held United States company that provides elections, and print solutions to jurisdictions nationwide. While headquartered in Austin, Texas, Hart products are used by hundreds of jurisdictions nationwide, including as of October 2012, all counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in Ohio, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington

This information is backed up by a press release on Hart Intercivic's website:

Successful Primaries for Hart Customers in Ohio and Texas
published 03/05/2008
AUSTIN, Texas – In a closely watched election with record-breaking voter turnout, voters across Texas and Ohio cast their Primary Election ballots with ease using Austin-based Hart InterCivic's eScan and eSlate equipment on Tuesday, March 4.
...

That covers your second question - Yes, Hart InterCivic's machines are used in Ohio. That's the easy bit.

From there you have to follow the paper trail.

Taggart Romney is publicly the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Solamere Capital.

According to Forbes, Solamere Capital or its subsidiary Solamere Advisors has an ownership stake in private equity firm - HIG Capital - who report:

July 06, 2011 - H.I.G. Capital Completes Strategic Investment in Hart InterCivic

Furthermore, it is reported that:

H.I.G. Capital has on its board of directors at least three close associates of the Romney family. H.I.G. Capital directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers. So is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney's campaign. Fully a third of H.I.G.'s leadership previously worked at Romney's old Bain firm.

Still, it is unclear if the investments made by Solamere are involved in H.I.G. Capital's transactions relating to Hart InterCivic. A Solamere spokseman tells The Weekly Standard no:

“Not only does Solamere have no direct or indirect interest in this company [Hart Intercivic], Solamere and its partners have no ownership in this company, nor do they have any ownership in nor have made any investments in the fund that invested in the voting machine company,” the spokesman said.

FactCheck.org takes a stab at the accusation and concludes there is little reason to suspect foul play:

We cannot independently confirm Solamere’s statement, since it is a private company investing in another private company. But this much is clear: There is no evidence to disprove the company’s public declaration that it did not invest in Hart InterCivic.

Snopes rejects the claim: "Mitt Romney's son Tagg owns a company that manufactures voting machines." as "FALSE".

It appears this conspiracy theory is just about debunked.

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    Is wikipedia a valid source for this topic? since this is political and recent I wouldn't be surprised if the wikipedia entry for Hart InterCivic contained frequently changing and not completely accurate information. – Colin D Oct 22 '12 at 17:19
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    @Chad en.wikipedia.org/w/… it self reports changing 9 times in the past 3 days. 2 of which happened between my comments on this answer. One is a revert with the comment 'These allegations are breaking news that have not yet been confirmed by reputable sources. ' – Colin D Oct 22 '12 at 19:38
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    Maybe I misunderstand, but how can what is cited in this answer be from 2011? it specifically says 'as of October 2012'. the part quoted from this answer seems like it appeared today: en.wikipedia.org/w/… – Colin D Oct 22 '12 at 19:50
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    Answer changed quite considerably, it is indeed breaking news. – Jamiec Oct 22 '12 at 21:46
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    @jwenting - You've not gone far enough. BREAKING NEWS: Investment Capatalists invest in wide and varying companies. Bloody rich people and their bloody money! – Jamiec Oct 23 '12 at 7:07

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