The 7-O mystery
Until the playing field is leveled and the scoreboard is made transparent, there will be no genuine election and indeed no democracy in Venezuela, no matter how hard and worthy the efforts were to make it so
There are two ways to rig an election. One is to tilt the playing field. The other is to change the scoreboard. The Chávez government definitely did the first and had the capacity to do the second. We will never know until someone inside the computer counting operation tells all.
The playing field is at full tilt. The government had control of the executive, legislative, judicial, military and electoral powers; had 2.5 million government employees and another million in the military or reserves; has a list of 3 million applicants for new houses; has millions more direct dependents on its missions or contracts; had Pdvsa spend $30 billion on social programs in 2011 alone; and has been ordering them all to turn out and vote for Chávez or risk their jobs, services, or benefits. That counts up to 8 million votes easily.
As for the scoreboard, it is a black hole. There are 19 million voters on a roll that has not been independently audited since 2003 and since then about 9 million new names are on it, God only knows whose. The adjacency of the fingerprint identification machines and the voter ballot machine is de factor intimidating for those who remember the Tascón list reprisals, yet an astonishing 6.5 million people still voted for Capriles. How many more would have voted without Tascón-type fear, God only knows.
The scoreboard central counting is not observable or verifiable from the 39,302 voting tables, so even knowing those totals does not prove fraud. A real observer must get inside the machine code and process software, forbidden territory for anyone outside the inner circle. Jimmy Carter might consider this system which he has never actually observed from the inside - superior to the US, but he would never have been elected Governor of Georgia or president of the US if the Republicans had Chávez's capability when he ran. Unfortunately Carter sacrificed what little credibility he has on this issue to support his mistakes of the past.
Until the playing field is leveled and the scoreboard is made transparent, there will be no genuine election and indeed no democracy in Venezuela, no matter how hard and worthy the efforts were to make it so.
The very early morning after the presidential election (April 15), both candidates requested the National Electoral Council (CNE) to conduct a full audit of the process: one, Henrique Capriles, because he asserts that the election results are different from the ones announced, and the other one, Nicolás Maduro, in order to clear any doubt regarding his victory, and to reinforce his political stance. Nevertheless, as it is already known, President Maduro changed his mind.