"Electoral trap in Venezuela" | Pasqualina Curcio

The electoral results have not been announced when already some political factors of the Venezuelan opposition come forward and sing fraud! It is what we have been used to for several years. Sometimes, and even participating in the race and in the middle of the campaign, they begin to position said discourse that seeks to delegitimize, without any proof, the electoral institution. Not to mention what they say during the voting day, especially when the press conference approaches by the authorities of the electoral body to announce the results. The next day the national and international media overflowed with the headlines Electoral Trap in Venezuela!

We refer to the facts, for example, in the framework of the regional and municipal elections called by the National Electoral Council (CNE) for this coming November 21, the opposition political party MUD issued on August 31 a statement in which announced its participation in the aforementioned elections, but the same document reads: "We know that these elections will not be fair or conventional elections."

In this scenario, we consider it important to highlight three aspects, among many others, that characterize the Venezuelan electoral model and that are not necessarily known by the voting public. Aspects that guarantee the reliability, security and transparency of electoral processes and therefore compliance with two of the fundamental principles of the civil right to vote enshrined in our Constitution, namely, the secrecy of the vote and each voter one vote.

1) The minutes of the audits. It is known to all that since 2004 our electoral system is automated and subjected to various audits before, during and after the electoral process. They are audited from the movements and updates of the Electoral Registry, that is, the voters who will be able to exercise their right to vote, to the software for totalizing the results through the voting notebooks, the voting machines themselves, the software for selection randomization of the polling station members, the biometric system by which it is confirmed that there is no relationship or an order is generated between the capture of the fingerprint and the sequence of the votes, guaranteeing the constitutional mandate of secrecy to suffrage and the principle of one vote per voter. The data transmission network is also audited.

What is relevant in this matter of audits is not only the technical aspect that guarantees the security and reliability of the system from a technological point of view, but also the political aspect, we refer specifically to who performs the audits and how they do it. It is the case that each audit has the participation of a representative of each of the political parties that are part of the electoral contest in addition to the representatives of the CNE. Additionally, after conducting the audit, an express and written record of compliance with the operation of the system is left, a record signed by all the parties and the CNE. In the event that there is any observation, it is also recorded in the minutes.

It turns out and happens that between the years 2004 and 2020, 373 audits and 25 electoral processes have been carried out, that is, on average each process has been audited 15 times without any objections being registered by the political parties, as recorded in all the minutes. which, incidentally, are published on the CNE website (http://www.cne.gob.ve/web/normativa_electoral/documentos_por_evento.php). The question that arises then is, if everyone was satisfied with the electoral system, which was stated in the minutes, how is it that, after the results are announced and in the cases in which they lose, they say that the system is not secure and transparent? ?

To date, 21 audits have been carried out for the elections on November 26, the minutes are published on the CNE website, there are no observations on the part of the participating political parties in any of them.

2) The key to access the automated system. There is another extremely important aspect related to audits and that is the fact that, once the audit is carried out, a kind of key or alphanumeric encrypted key is generated through a hash or electronic signature, which is shared between the CNE. and the political parties of all tendencies that participate in the electoral contest and that, therefore, were present in each audit. The fact that this key is shared means that each political organization is entitled to a part of the key, which makes it impossible to access the already audited component of the automated system again (if someone had the intention of altering it after the audit. ). The only way to re-enter the previously audited system is for all political parties and the CNE to simultaneously supply their share of the code.

3) The selection of board members. During the voting day, the protagonists are the voters, but the main guarantors that the process is carried out successfully and transparently, in addition to the CNE workers, are the members of the polling stations. In this regard, it is important to highlight that, unlike the electoral processes that were carried out before 2004, in which said members were selected by hand by the political parties and the CNE, from the automation of the vote, the selection is carried out in a manner randomized through a computerized system, also audited.

The random selection implies that the probability of partiality of the process during the voting tends to zero, but that is not the most important thing, rather that these members have, among their tasks, one fundamental to guarantee the reliability of the electoral model and that is that they must Compare the results that appear in the minutes issued at the end by the voting machine of each table with the voting receipts contained in the boxes, results that include the number of voters and the votes obtained by each candidate. This information is subsequently transmitted to the totalization center, a process that was also previously audited, and said record, in turn, must necessarily coincide with the results published by the CNE on its web portal, which are shown disaggregated by electoral center and by voting table.

This aspect is of utmost importance because it is the guarantee that what is in the box coincides with the minutes of the polling station, with the votes that traveled through the data transmission network, later totaled and published by the CNE on its portal , in a disaggregated manner, by table and voting center.

In this process of contrasting between the minutes issued at the voting table and the vouchers of the boxes, the witnesses of the political parties that were assigned to each polling station and we the voters can participate.

Many other aspects guarantee the security and transparency of the Venezuelan electoral model, So, the call is to trust our electoral institution and to go on November 21 to exercise our constitutional right to vote to settle our differences in a democratic, peaceful and sovereign manner. .


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