The president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, announced on Thursday that the council decided to widen its electoral audit “to isolate violent sectors intent on harming democracy.”
In accordance with the law, on election day, April 14, an audit was conducted on 54% of the sealed boxes which held voting receipts, and now the remaining 46% of boxes will be reviewed. After citizens cast their votes electronically, the machine prints a receipt allowing them to verify that their vote was recorded correctly. Voters then place these receipts in sealed boxes before leaving the polling station.
In a national broadcast, Lucena indicated that the anti-Chavista campaign representing Henrique Capriles asked on Wednesday to “conclude the voting receipt audit, which on Sunday verified 54% of secured voter receipt boxes.” She clarified that they “did not solicit a recount of votes.”
“Let us remember that the vote and tally are automated in Venezuela. A new automated tally can only be solicited via an electoral complaint filed with Supreme Tribunal of Justice,” Lucena explained.
This decision was made “in the interest of preserving a harmonious climate between Venezuelans, but also to isolate violent sectors intent on harming [Venezuela’s] democracy,” the CNE president stressed as she condemned violent acts committed throughout the country that left 8 people dead and nearly 70 wounded following Capriles’ refusal to accept his electoral defeat.
For this audit process, a random sample will be audited for 10 days, and following this period, a report with the results will be published. It will take three cycles of these 10 day audit periods for the process to conclude (a total of 30 days).
The audits will be made in the presence of electoral technicians designated by the candidates who ran on April 14, and an average of 400 boxes will be audited per day.
“We will announce the beginning of this process next week,” Lucena said.
Moreover, she called on the media to refrain from being used as a means for destabilization or to creating situations that could threaten the country’s democratic order.
“We urge the media and the various political spokespersons to be consistent, to be responsible in terms of the nation’s peace, and to avoid rushing to judgment or making declarations that aggravate the mood in the country. Leave it up to the Electoral Branch to do its work without submitting the institution’s workers or offices to blackmail, aggression or threats. We must assure that our democracy is safeguarded for everyone’s well-being,” Lucena urged.
AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / April 19, 2013