Red Flags on Venezuela's Electoral Roll
By Adolfo G. Fabregat
Note added 08.05.2015: This is an old article, though is the closest thing to an independent audit of Venezuela's electoral roll ever made. Some links are dysfunctional. Blythewood, SC 25.04.06 | In one of his last acts as head of Venezuela's CNE, Jorge Rodriguez announced with great fanfare, he was making available for download at CNE's web site the complete list of registered voters as of January 2006, also known as the REP (Registro Electoral Permanente).
The download consists of 24 files (one per state) each containing one row per registered voter. The voter information contains: name, date of birth, identity card no. and location code of the voting center where the voter normally votes. The identity card number consists of two parts, the number itself and a letter code signifying if the voter is born venezuelan (V) or naturalized (E for extranjero) .
The number of registered voters in the 2006 REP, 14,849,127 represents a 23% increase over the number of registered voters in 2003 and is more than 10 times greater than the increase in registered voters in the previous three year-period, 2000-2003, which was of only 1.9%. The 23% increase represents a net of approximately 2.2 million new voters and here is the problem, nobody knows who these 2.2 million voters are. You can see the complete registration breakdown by state, by period and by natural-born vs foreign born in this chart.
Ordering the entire voter's roll by date of birth takes only a few minutes in my little laptop and here I found a few statistically improbable pearls.
There are over 39,000 registered voters of over 100 years of age, this is huge number when compared to the United States where there are an estimated 49,000 persons over 100 years old, see here, so with the US population roughly 10 times larger than Venezuela's one would expect Venezuela to have -at best- 4,900 persons of over 100 years of age and that is being generous because because according to this study the life expectancy in Venezuela is 10 years less than in the US.
Of the 39,000 there are 17,000 voters born in the 1800's, here is the complete list ordered by ascending date of birth and grouped in files of 250 to speed up downloads.
The oldest registered person in Venezuela is Mrs. Josefa Molina Lantz who was born on April 30, 1831, you can find her at the top of this file. I posted a fun little note in the wonderful web site Noticiero Digital about Mrs. Molina's upcoming 175th birthday and two very astute ND readers quickly found that she is registered in the Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (ISS) which confirmed that her date of birth is not a typographical error and most intriguingly that she was affiliated with the firm CATIVEN ANDIMER in 1979 -at the ripe age of 149. You can see Mrs. Molina's ISS page near the bottom of this document.
The inescapable conclusion is that the REP contains thousands of persons that are deceased and yet probably someone is still voting for them and even collecting social security and by the way someone from Noticiero Digital also checked Mrs. Molina against the repugnant Maisanta list and -not a surprise here- she did not sign the petition to recall "President" Chávez.
January 1 and October
Another statistically improbable item is the unusually high number of registered voters with a date of birth of January 1, 1900. To illustrate, here is a chart of the number of birthdays immediately around 1/1/1900:
The 631 1/1/1900 birthdays are more than 20 times the average number of birthdays during that timeframe, there is definitely wrong with these registrations.
You can see the entire list of persons born between 1/1/1900 and 12/31/1905 by date of birth, here.
The January 1 popularity goes beyond just older people, January 1 is the #1 birthday in 11 states and is in the top 10 birthdays in every one. This chart showing the top 30 birthdays by state demonstrates two highly improbable trends: 1. January 1 is at or near the top in every state and 2. October dates take the majority of the top 30 slots in every state -in some states 29 out of the top 30 birthdays are October dates, with the remaining slot going to -who else- January 1.
These patterns may have only two possible explanations, an innocent burocratic one or reckless hackery.
Zulia, March 15 1974
The same Top30 birthdays chart shows another very unusual pattern, go all the way to the right and you'll see the top birthday in Zulia is March 15. March 15's 24000 birthdays are more than 4 times the average birthday in Zulia which runs between 4 and 6 thousand birthdays a day. Zooming-in on March 15 we find that of the 24000 birthdays, 19000 are exactly on March 15, 1974. This has shades of "The Village of the Dammed" the old movie with George Sanders where all the children in the village are born at the same time. Here are the details, first, to demonstrate how out of proportion March 15 1974 is, here are the counts of birthdays in Zulia by actual date, and you can find the complete list of the 19000 registrations here in alphabetical order. By the way, this is where you'll find the famous 1900 Gonzalez voters from Zulia, they are still there.
As with the January 1 birthdays there may be an innocent explanation for this anomaly or maybe not.
No birth date?
There are more than 300 registrations with a birth date of 00/00/0000, why? you can see them here in alphabetical order.
How to vote twice.
First of all lets clear something up, there are no duplicate Identity Card numbers, well not exactly, there are several hundred duplicate numbers where one has a "V" prefix and the other has an "E" prefix but the names are different so lets give them the benefit of the doubt and assume everything is OK in this department.
On the other hand, there appears to be thousands of people with two different Identity Cards.
When I analyzed the database by name I found a very interesting pattern, there are names that occur only twice in the entire 14 million registrations universe and they happen to have exactly the same birthday. Forget statistics, personal experience tells you that there is something wrong with this picture.
We are not talking here of 600 Juan Gonzalez of which 2 happen to share exactly the same birth date, no, we are talking about only two ABOU AMMAR ESSAM's, for example, who happen to have been born exactly on January 4 1971 and have two different Identity Cards, one of which happens to have a "E" prefix, and are registered to vote in two different centers, in this case in Merida.
Like ABOU AMMAR ESSAM there are thousands of names that follow the same pattern, they occur only twice, one of their IDs has an "E" prefix and they have exactly the same birth date and you can see this group in alphabetical order here, in multiple files to speed up downloads.
There is also a second group of several thousands that follow exactly the same pattern but have both IDs with a "V" instead. These are probably also the same person with two id's but their number is half the number of registrations of the first group which makes the first group even more statistically suspect since foreign born make up only about 1% of the entire registry. You can see the second group, the Venezuelan group here.
I also analyzed the database using a somewhat less strict criteria, two unique names with a birthday within a year, and that yielded another batch of thousands but to show it here would be overkill.
This exercise by a guy working on a laptop in his kitchen just scratches the surface of what can be found if real professional auditors get their hands on the full REP, including addresses, and that is why they will never release it. Just like they can't afford to lose an election, there are too many skeletons in their closets. Can anyone visualize "President" Chávez ever making a concession speech?
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