Maracaibo, April 18th, 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) announced Thursday that it would carry out an audit of 100 percent of the votes in last Sunday’s presidential elections.
CNE President Tibisay Lucena made the announcement in a nationwide broadcast this evening, after the Capriles campaign formally submitted a request for a full recount on Wednesday.
A random audit of 54 percent of the votes is routinely conducted immediately after the polls close on election day, and was done without any discrepancies on Sunday evening.
However, opposition leaders have refused to recognize the official results, and demanded a full recount of 100 percent of the votes.
Protests erupted around the country demanding a recount after Capriles refused to recognize the outcome, and resulted in various deaths and dozens wounded. Yet the Capriles campaign did not formally request a recount as stipulated by law until yesterday evening.
The CNE’s decision will not be a full recount of the votes as the opposition has demanded, but rather an audit of the remaining 46 percent of the votes that were not audited on the night of the elections.
“We will select a sample that will be audited for 10 days and a report of the results will be emitted. This procedure will be repeated every 10 days for 30 days in the presence of witnesses from both camps,” said Lucena.
Lucena said that 400 ballot boxes would be audited per day, and that the start date of the audit process will be announced next week.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles immediately responded by accepting the CNE decision, and claimed that the full audit would reveal the elections were fraudulent.
“Sooner or later the truth will come out, and not only will it come out but it will have real consequences,” he said.
Capriles claimed that according to their analysis the problems with the vote count are in the 46 percent of the ballot boxes that were not audited on Sunday night.
“Our calculations show that it is about 12,000 ballot boxes. We know where the problems are. They are in those 12,000 boxes,” he said.
However, given that the initial audit on election night of 54 percent of the ballot boxes is a random hot audit of half the ballot boxes in each voting center, it is extremely unlikely that any fraud attempts would not have been detected by the initial audit.
In addition, the examples of irregularities in the vote count given by Capriles so far have all been shown to be false.
There also seemed to be some confusion about the extent of the audit. Capriles insisted that it would be a complete review of voter rolls, vote tallies, and paper receipts. However, the CNE audit is strictly a comparison of paper receipts to vote tallies to make sure they match.
Capriles called on his supporters to continue protesting against the government, and called for activities to protest President Nicolas Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony on Friday.
Referring to the wave of violence in recent days, including attacks on government health clinics and PSUV political party offices, Capriles accused the government of committing the attacks themselves, and did not acknowledge the violent deaths of several government supporters in recent days.