CARACAS, Friday May 24, 2013 | Update

Electoral body puts off talk on fingerprints, audit, and Maduro

Experts claim there is no way to breach the secrecy of the vote

The report on non-duplicity of fingerprints could be available by mid-September (Gabriela Pulido)
Friday May 24, 2013  02:47 PM
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's statements that could make the electorate believe that ballots are not secret; the audit for non-duplicity of fingerprints; and the report on incidences of the Comprehensive Authentication System (SAI) continue out of the agenda of the board of directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Although a meeting of the directors of the electoral body was convened for Thursday, the meeting did not take place. Therefore, they failed to discuss the three proposals advanced by CNE's director Vicente Díaz on May 8: 1) Conducting a fingerprint non-duplicity audit of voters turning out on April 14 presidential election; 2) Producing right away a report incidences of SAI; and 3) Reviewing voters' lists in search of people already dead by the time the election was held and whose names had not been erased from the register of voters.

Since the heads of the electoral body have failed to hold a meeting so far, there has been neither a discussion nor a single statement regarding Maduro's words affirming that the authorities had already identified the names and identity numbers of some 900,000 individuals who voted Chávez on the presidential election held on October 7, 2012, but did not cast their votes on the presidential election of April 14, 2013.

In the meantime, opposition experts state Nicolás Maduro may well be informed about who did not vote (with respect to October 7 election), if the CNE granted privileged access to the electronic voters' lists (kept in ballot machines the day of the election) or if ruling party PSUV was given privileged access to data from the Voters Information System (SIE), used in polling centers with two or three polling stations.

Nevertheless, experts assert there is no way to breach the secret of the ballot.

Experts from the National Electoral Board believe that the results of the audit may be available by mid-September, when all procedures will have been completed.
Is protest over?

That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending  in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.