Venezuela Elections

Venezuela auditors: no signs of fraud in contested presidential vote

After finishing a complete audit of Venezuela’s contested April 14 presidential race, the nation’s electoral council said there was no evidence of fraud or error in the vote that gave President Nicolás Maduro a narrow win over his rival.

In a televised address Tuesday, National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena said 100 percent of the 39,018 electoral tables had been audited and without any indications of problems. During the last three cycles of the audit, which lasted 30 days, authorities reviewed 4.6 million votes and found they were 99.98 percent accurate with registered totals, she said.

The opposition demanded an audit after the government said President Nicolás Maduro won the vote over Miranda Gov. Henrique Capriles by 1.5 points.

“These results reflect an undeniable reality,” Lucena said. “It’s a scientific fact that, due to its technical quality and rigorous certification mechanism, Venezuela has an electoral system that is armored against fraud and error.”

The opposition maintains that the audit didn’t go deep enough, and should have included a review of the electoral books that witnesses signed on election day.

“An audit without the voting books!” Capriles wrote on Twitter. “It’s a farce and the country knows it.”

Capriles has been contesting the race in Venezuela and abroad, and he also filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, he demanded a verdict.

“Do we, or do we not have justice,” he wrote.

Lucena said the opposition is waging a smear campaign based on “myths,” including that dead people on the voter roles cast ballots.

The reliability of Venezuela’s hight-tech and computerized voting system is likely to be an issue for the rest of the year; the country is holding municipal elections Dec. 8.

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