Thursday, February 9, 2012

Electronic voting continues to gain terrain across the Venezuelan political spectrum

Photo by Carlos Hernández
Caracas, Feb. 9, 2012. On Sunday, February 12, 2012, independent leaders and opposition parties grouped in the Coalition for Democratic Unity (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) will hold open primary elections aimed at defining a single candidate to stand against President Hugo Chavez in the presidential elections scheduled for October 7, 2012. The primaries will also determine the opposition’s representatives to challenge President Chavez’s candidates for different positions at the state and municipal levels in another round of elections to take place in December, 2012.

This democratic feast will set the stage, once again, for Venezuelan opposition to test the robust automated platform that has gained numerous positive reviews from voters and voting authorities around the world by providing accurate and transparent results election after election. February’s elections will mark the second occasion the opposition candidates requests the National Electoral Council (CNE) to carry out their primaries using Venezuela’s state of the art voting system. The recurrence denotes an important change in how some opposition leaders perceive the Venezuelan system provided by Smartmatic, as the most vociferous opponents of electronic voting now endorse the system and will participate in the elections as candidates at different levels of the primaries.

“We are very glad that all parties involved have welcomed our technology. Our system provides not only enormous monetary and logistic advantages, but also, auditability and efficency levels that are unobtainable with manual voting”, said Chief Executive Officer of Smartmatic, Antonio Mugica. “We celebrate that misinformation and doubt have cleared the way for transparency and trust”. As time has passed, and multiple elections have been won and lost by the different actors of the Venezuelan political spectrum, lingering doubts about the transparency and efficiency of the system have disipated.

Venezuela, nowadays a world reference in the adoption of fully automated electoral processes, began its electronic voting experience in 1998 using only scanners for vote counting. The country moved forward by automating all stages of the process in 2004 using Smartmatic’s technology. From the 2004 referendum recall the company has grown to become the world leader in electronic voting with more than 1.5 billion audited votes and dozens of elections held throughout the world.