The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a U.S. organization with 120 chapters, sent a delegation to act as international accompaniers during Venezuela’s presidential elections on April 14, and released a press release Wednesday stating that: “[the] process was fair, transparent, participatory, and well-organized.”
The NLG sent five members to polling stations in five different states around Venezuela, joining a larger team of 170 accompaniers from abroad.
According to the press release, “the NLG monitors found a reliable system in which 54% of all votes are randomly audited on Election Day. NLG monitors witnessed one such audit in Caracas in which the paper ballots matched perfectly with the electronic votes.”
The NLG observed the following positive aspects of the system: “advanced voting procedures that prevent fraud through multiple fingerprint and voter ID certifications; accurate and efficient digital and manual vote calculation; active participation by party witnesses and national and international observers.”
NLG attorney Robin Alexander is quoted as saying: “The U.S. would do well to incorporate some of the security checks and practices that are routine in Venezuela to improve both the level of participation and the credibility of our elections. The six polls I visited in the state of Carabobo were calm and well-organized and lines were short.”
Finally, the press release also urges the U.S. government to give Venezuela the same treatment that the country has given to the U.S. by recognizing the election.
The press release reads: “As a U.S. organization, the NLG emphasizes that the margin of victory for Nicolas Maduro, while small, is comparable to close elections in the U.S., such as the margins of victory for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and for George W. Bush in 2004. The NLG calls upon the U.S. to honor the Venezuelan election as the nations of the world honor U.S. elections without question.”
A member of the delegation, Daniel Kovalik, states: “In the end, it is the Venezuelans who must decide their own future and leaders and the U.S., in the interest of democracy, must honor that decision.”
Read the full press release here.
Press/ Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S./ April 17, 2013