Venezuela's opposition presents its preliminay report on fraud
The Coordinadora Democratica presented its preliminary report today on the case for fraud. The report is basically divided into four broad parts:
1) How the Chavez Government controlled institutions and used them to its advantage from 1998 on, including controlling the Electoral powers and the manipulation of processes in the judicial system.
2) The drive to provide foreigners with ID’s as a contribution to fraud in the electoral process
3) Mathematical studies and evidence obtained from the transmission of data that was in violation of the regulations and suggests some form of manipulation may have taken place.
4) Control of the process and the role of observers.
Part 1) of the document may be of interest to someone that became aware of the Venezuelan political crisis only recently. But in some respects it is what this blog has been covering for the last two years. Thus, I will highlight only what the report says in the other three broad sections.
-The drive to add voters
The report describes how the Government began on April 9 2004 a drive to provide ID cards to people over 18. The Government created special offices run by MVR party members and not by the ONIDEX which is in charge of this. They used a system without any type of security and people were given the ID cards without verification of data. The process had no controls and all the people who were giving ID’s were automatically registered to vote.
This process led to 1.8 million people being given ID’s in only four months, without controls, supervision and in indiscriminate fashion and without any of the Government offices in charge of these processes being involved in it. A large part of these new registered voters were in rural regions, with voters registered in centers where voting was manual.
In twenty of the twenty four states the electoral registry had a percentage higher than the historical value of 48% of the population, with only four states having less than 50% and the electoral registry increasing from 48% to 54% of the population in six months.
By now, some may be thinking or saying this is just democracy at work and what the Chavez Government did was simply to add people to the electoral rolls. However, there is now a general phenomenon that in towns, cities and municipalities there are now more voters than inhabitants. This strange behavior is concentrated in locations where the vote was manual instead of electronic.
-Mathematics and Communications
The report cites work done at the level of parishes in which statistical analysis shows anomalies in the final results at the local level. According to this study, that I have not seen in this detail, with 99% confidence it was demonstrated that 26% of the voting machines had statistical values outside of what would be expected from the point of view of the distribution at the parish level. The report also includes the Hausmann, Rigobon study as part of its evidence.
What I found most interesting were the parts relating to communications. Most of this I knew little pieces of, but I had not seen such an overview of it:
Bidirectionality: CANTV records demonstrate that there was two-way communications between the voting machines and the CNE servers. Recall that the President of Smartmatic stated after the recall vote that such communication was impossible.
Types of communications: The report argues that given the nature of the process the type of communications between each voting center and the CNE should be very similar. However, the study revealed three types of endings to the communications: i) Those terminated by the voting machines ii) Those terminated by the server and iii) Those that appeared to arise from a loss of carrier. All three types occur with similar frequency which has no explanation.
Traffic Patterns: If all of the machines were transmitting just the results, the volumes of data transmitted by each machine should be similar. This is not the case; there are wide differences in the traffic patterns from different machines and voting centers. This has no plausible explanation.
Transmissions out of schedule: There were connections all day beginning at 7AM, the agreement was that there would only be communications after the machines had printed their results. The regulations state that this should be the case.
-Control of the process and observers
The report is highly critical of the Carter Center, it says these results in part from the superficiality of the Center which acted as if this was a normal voting process and not that of a country with the conflicts it has had in the last few years.
The report criticizes the fact that the Carter Center at no time criticized, like the OAS did, the fact that the Government had maintained control over the whole Electoral process with its majority at the Electoral Board.
The report repeats what we already know of the hot audit that was supposed to include 199 machines selected at random by a program designed by the CNE. Of these, only 27 were audited in the presence of the opposition and in those 27 the SI won 63% to 37%.
The report also relates how it was impossible for anyone to enter the totalization room at the CNE. Not even the OAS and the Carter Center were allowed in, even though it had been agreed that they could.
The report questions why when the opposition was trying to find acceptable terms to the cold audit performed after the RR, they were told that the observers had already “selected" a procedure with the CNE which would be a random selection of boxes. In a last minute attempt to convince the opposition to accept the results of the audit, the Carter Center assured the opposition that the program to select the boxes would be under the control of the Carter Center.
And it is here that the report is most critical of the Carter Center, calling it inefficient, superficial and even irresponsible. The report says that the Carter Center program was an Excel program which was not used due to “technical reasons” (!!!!) Thus, the same program questioned on Sunday by the opposition and made by the CNE was used. The report is also critical of something that I pointed out here, in that the Carter Center makes a lot of emphasis on the fact that its representative were next to the ballot boxes all the time, but fail to point out that over 60 hours went by between August 15th. and August 18th. when the audit was performed, when the boxes were alone.
The report also says that the boxes from Lara and Bolivar states took a large number of hours to arrive and despite the fact that there were assurances that all boxes from Caracas were at the Tiuna fort in the Southwest of the city, this turned out not be the case. .
The report concludes by suggesting that the process be legally challenged, that the Electoral registry be legally challenged, that the Smartmatic system be questioned and that the next election be done with manual counting for the whole country.
In an interesting conclusion, the report suggests that the Coordinadora ask the US Government for the application of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act against Smartmatic and Verizon, the controlling shareholder of CANTV. This is an interesting twist as it will require that the evidence be presented and the case be tried in US Courts, far from the control of the Chavez Government.
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