Sumate: No transparency in Venezuela's Electoral Registry
By Miguel Octavio | The Devil's Excrement
06.08.05 | Yesterday, Sumate introduced in the Electoral Board (CNE) a request that the Electoral Registry be published as established in the Law of Suffrage and Political Participation. This is one of those subtle points that need to be explained in detail, because it is part of the bag of tricks used by the Government to cheat and manipulate elections.
The law says the Registry has to be made public, In fact, the law says the Electoral Board will give a copy to all political parties "whenever they request it" (Article 95), as well as saying that every month it will have to notify and post publicly any additions or removals to the Registry. (Article 106). Last year, before the recall vote, Sumate also tried to get the registry published, to no avail. You see the registry not only contains the name and ID number of each voter, but also his/her address. Last year and this year, using personnel outside of the Office of Identification, the Government gave out ID cards and registered to vote over a million new voters. This supposedly "democratic" registration drive took place only after the opposition managed to get the required signatures to vote on a possible recall of Hugo Chavez as President.
Incredibly enough, in some municipalities there are now more voters than inhabitants a subject that I have discussed before in this blog more than one time. These type of anomalies and many more have led Sumate to make a number of request to the CNE and even to ask the Supreme Court for an injunction, which was rejected. If you have the patience you can read the decision here. Well, the Court used the old trick of using a critique of formal steps in order to not decide on the substance of the case. What is clear is that the law says the registry has to be published. It hasn't. Why?
The reason is obvious. Now more than ever those people registered last year are needed in the upcoming election. Last year Chavez needed sheer numbers, now his party needs the votes where it matters. We will be electing this Sunday, members for the City Councils of all of Venezuela. Chavistas need the votes where they don't have the Mayors to make the life of opposition Mayors really difficult. And they need to win handily where they have the Mayors to do as they please with municipal Treasuries.
Sumate, once again, is trying to use the law, asking the CNE directly to provide the Registry. This is called an administrative recourse. The CNE will obviously not hand it over, it would reveal what a farse elections are now in Venezuela. Thus, much like last year the CNE did not do the audit that had been agreed on the night of the recall vote, and refused to open all of the ballot boxes to count the votes manually, it will refuse to hand over the registry.
That is why Venezuela is no longer a real democracy. In a real democracy you need to have transparency. In a real democracy you have to follow the laws. There is no transparency in Venezuela with regards to the Electoral Board and its actions. The law was and is being violated on electoral matters. A few simple actions by the CNE would have revealed last year and this year whether there was something funny going on with the votes. The CNE refused, with the support of the Electoral Hall of the Supreme Court, to follow these simple steps. Even the most naive individual could not help but ask: Why? What do they have to hide?
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