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Caracas, Wednesday August 10 , 2005  
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According to official figures, participation was 31.32 percent
Automated ballots cost USD 20.13
USD 89.3 million were spent in last Sunday election for municipal councils and parish boards (Photo: Nicola Rocco / El Universal)
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The National Electoral Council (CNE) Tuesday completed the count of 98.4 percent of automated votes and 80 percent of manual votes

EUGENIO MARTINEZ
EL UNIVERSAL

If the National Electoral Council (CNE) charged Venezuelans for voting, each one of the 4,446,978 people who cast their ballot on Sunday election for municipal councils and parish boards would have to pay USD 20.1.

Basically, excluding the cost of balloting machines, fingerprint-capture machines, ordinary operational expenses and expenses incurred in connection with foreign electoral observers, CNE invested USD 89.3 million in order to prepare and complete the election for 2,389 councilmen, 3,207 members of parish boards, one governor, two mayors and 45 indigenous councilmen.

In absolute terms, the election of each local official cost some USD 15,832.

Expenses shrunk
Under international electoral standards, the cost of polls should be estimated based on the number of recorded voters.

For the recent local election, 14,336,690 Venezuelans were recorded to vote. Therefore, the per capita cost of the poll is USD 6.1, which involves a reduction of USD 5 per voter as compared to the cost of the recall vote on President Hugo Chávez held on August 15, 2004.

Compared to polls conducted in some other countries, it can be noted that elections in Venezuela -even though still expensive- are increasingly closer to international standards.

For example, electoral processes held in Dominican Republic are among the most expensive, with a per capita cost of USD 10.11.

In the United States, over the last seven years local and national polls have averaged a per capita cost from USD 1.93-2.68.

Abstention down to 68.08 percent
According to the latest figures regarding participation in last Sunday local election, abstention amounted to 68.08 percent, with 98.4 percent of automated votes and 80 percent of manual votes recorded.

emartinez@eluniversal.com

Translated by Maryflor Suárez




 
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