Sunday, August 15, 2004


Venezuela election update

Turnout is so heavy that the National Election Council has extended the polling for four hours, moving poll closing from 4 pm to 8 pm.

In a foretaste of the newly invented impediments to voting that many voters may experience here in November,

Opposition leader Pompeyo Marquez said in a televised press conference in Caracas that long lines of voters were caused by fingerprint scanning machines not functioning. The machines, which were installed to prevent fraud, were malfunctioning, he said.
Chavez told reporters that he even had troubles having his fingerprint scanned after voting in the 23 de Enero voting center.

After the Venezuelans get past the fingerprint scanner, they have to face an untested touchscreen voting machine made by Smartmatic, an unheard-of voting machine vendor out of Boca Raton, Florida. Now there's a confidence-builder if there ever was one.

But credit where credit is due—the Smartmatic machines are supposed to produce a paper ballot that the voter then drops into a ballot box, in case an audit is called for. The American way is so much more efficient—all you have to do is just touch the screen, then lie back and trust the authorities. Those Venezuelans must be crooks.

The opposition leader Marquez says,

"Some people have been waiting up to eight hours to vote[.]"... "We're going to be in the 'Guinness Book of World Records.'"
I say that if the Venezuelans make it into Guinness, they'd better enjoy their fame while it lasts. After all, we have an election coming in November, and we don't like to come in second.

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