Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Once again, electronic voting guarantees exact results in Venezuela

Image: Reuters
Eleven years and thirteen elections after electronic voting was introduced in Venezuela, voters headed back to the polls to elect its parliament representatives. The elections, held on December 6 registered a participation rate of 75%, which is an impressive turnout considering that voting is not mandatory in Venezuela. 

Venezuela’s system automates all stages of the election, from biometric voter authentication, to voting, results transmission, tallying and results publication. The system has been deemed reliable by important observation organizations such as the Carter Center and the European Union.  

Weeks before the election, a report published by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance stated that "the strength of the Venezuelan electoral process lies in the automated voting and vote-counting system". Meanwhile, Leonel Fernandez, head of the observation mission from UNASUR said in his post-election balance that "The Venezuelan voting system is solid and safe." 

One of the most important attributes of the technology used in Venezuela is its high level of auditability. Before, during and after the election, technicians from participating political parties, independent auditors and electoral authorities review the system thoroughly. 

In addition, during the night of the election a public audit was performed to compare the printed vote receipts against the precinct counts issued by more than 50% of the voting machines. No significant issues were found.  

On Sunday night the official results of 96% of the seats in contention were published, and they were accepted by all political parties without exception.

1,799 candidates were competing for the 167 seats that constitute the parliament. This was a heavy contested election, where few votes made the difference to declare the winners. For example, in Aragua, a state in the central region, one parliament seat was decided by only 83 votes, a difference of only 0.06%.