CARACAS, Monday April 22, 2013 | Update

Election official: Paper ballots must be counted in election audit

The paper ballots printed by voting machine are counted and checked against the tally sheets and the number of voters who cast their ballots, so you can determine if there are inconsistencies, said Vicente Diaz, a director of the National Electoral Council (CNE). Reference was made to the planned audit of 46% of the ballot boxes that were not checked on April 14 following the presidential vote in Venezuela

Monday April 22, 2013  08:28 AM
The electoral audit slated for this week in Venezuela involves counting the paper ballots and checking them against the number of voters who cast their ballots in each voting station. This is the only way to find any inconsistencies, said Vicente Díaz, a director of the National Electoral Council.

He further explained that any irregularities found during the audit can be used as evidence to challenge the election results in the relevant balloting stations.

Díaz said that paper ballots are important as they enable people to reject any inconsistencies in the vote.

He stressed that any mechanism fostering people's confidence in the election should be included in the audit.

Díaz insisted that the irregularities he witnessed have nothing to do with the automated voting system, but with the circumstances surrounding the election on April 14.

"During the vote, I did witness irregularities. I personally toured some voting centers and saw Red Spots (ruling party PSUV's stations to spread and distribute propaganda) next to polling stations. Such spots should be prohibited absolutely. However, the CNE has set a 200-meter security perimeter away from the polling center," he said.

He also witnessed the presence of people proselytizing at polling centers or around. "As instructed by the CNE, the electoral military protection operation Plan República has an obligation to prevent that," he recalled.

He insisted that such irregularites have no relation with the automated voting system itself. However, he said, "the audit is important to bring tranquility to the country."
The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."