Mérida, February 6, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)– During the voting on the constitutional amendment on February 15, to remove the two-term limit on all elected offices, there will be a minimum of 1,200 Venezuelan observers, appointed by four organizations; University Students for Equality, Active Voters, Electoral Eye, and the Education Assembly.
The figure was announced by National Electoral Council (CNE) official Vincente Diaz. He also said there will be an estimated 65,000 voting witnesses representing both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ blocks.
Diaz also explained that while it is estimated that voters will only need an average of 30 seconds to vote, the electronic voting machines will give voters 3 minutes to cast their vote, as happened in the regional elections last November.
Likewise, in those elections a number of eligible voters were approved by the CNE to work at the voting centers. According to the constitution, in article 50 of the electoral power law, they are required to do so for one year, and will therefore be working in the upcoming elections. They also need to receive training specific to the upcoming elections, something the CNE is currently organizing across the country.
Another CNE official, German Yepez, also announced yesterday that the date until which opinion polling companies and media can publish polling results regarding opinion on the amendment has been extended until February 8.
Finally, on Thursday the National Assembly approved an additional amount of BsF 392 million (US$ 182 million) for the use of the CNE to carry out the elections. Of this, BsF 44 million (US$ 20 million) will be for information and publicity of the electoral process for 2009, and BsF 13 million (US$ 6 million) is assigned to the design, preparation and production of electoral material, while BsF 26.5 million (US$ 12 million) is allocated to the activation of the Secondary Electoral Organisms.
For distribution of the electoral material, BsF 44 million (US$ 20 million) has been allocated, BsF 54 million (US$ 25 million) for telecommunications services, BsF 10 million (US$ 4 million) for operator training, among other expenses.
16,767,511 people are registered and therefore able to vote. On the voting day there will be 11,297 voting centers.