Statement - April 27th, 2013i PARAMETERS FOR CITIZEN VERIFICATION, PHASE II Greetings to all Venezuela. We have decided to broadcast this national address, in order to convey the decisions made by the National Electoral Council regarding the extension of Citizen Verification, Phase II. On April 18th, this Electoral Power approved this extension, following a request made to this institution. Since then, we have been working to guarantee the fair progress of the approved procedure. It is important to note that, at every phase of the electoral process, political organizations audited all the elements that make up the automated system, thereby certifying its proper functioning and integrity. The records of each audit are there to be seen, with the signatures of the technicians involved, and can be consulted on the official website of the CNE by anyone who wishes to do so. Additionally, in the period prior to the election, the team of citizen Capriles asked for further guarantees, which were added to the other audits that already form an integral part of the electoral system; and which the Electoral Power approved after considering that these were reasonable requests, within the Law, while seeking to create a favourable climate for the event. N°
Voting machine voter data Software used in „Information for Voters‟ System (SIE) Production of the „Information for Voters‟ System (SIE) Voting machine software Production of voting record books Permanent ink Production of voting machines Review of voting machine data configuration Totalizing software Software for the Turnout Statistics System Technological infrastructure Voting machine pre-dispatch audit Zeroing of „Information for Voters‟ System Zeroing of National Totalling Centre 1 Transmission of Electoral Data Totalizing of National Totalling Centres 1 and 2 Presence in SIE room Selection of Polling Centres for Citizen Verification Phase II Citizen Verification Phase II Software and databases for the random selection of electoral 20 board and polling booth members. The same selection as in 2012 was used. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
21 Electoral Register. The same data as in 2012 was used.
Biometric system. The same platform audited for the Presidential Election of 2012 was used. 23 Audit of the production of biometric information machines 22
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(Phase I) 12/03/2012
At the time, they requested the inclusion of a witness for every candidate in the SIE (Sistema de Información al Elector or „Information for Voters System‟) transmission room. This was approved. They asked for a witness to be included in the polling booth member contingency room. This was approved. They asked for a new audit of the removable memory for voting machine data. Approved! These additional guarantees, including the new audit just mentioned, make up a total of 18 audit procedures. These audits are now unacknowledged and silenced. This lack of recognition seeks to harm the electoral process, while making reference to issues which were already reviewed and certified by [the political parties‟] own technicians; just as records, which are of public knowledge, demonstrate. An election system, which has been praised time after time, election after election, for its strengths, for the reliability of electoral results which have favoured some as well as others, and whose credibility has been proven by the high levels of voter turnout in elections. To those who expressed disagreement when the results were announced, we advised that the avenues available for challenging any of the National Electoral Council‟s proceedings are to be found in the Constitution and the Law. They benefit from the right to contest the election, but it is equally their duty to submit supporting evidence. This has been our position, both in public statements and in the meetings we have had with them. In view of our insistence that a formal request be submitted, it was finally in the afternoon of Wednesday 17th that we received a communiqué from citizen Capriles with a series of demands. Following a lengthy analysis by the National Electoral Council, we found it impossible to approve the request in the stated terms, since these are not provided for in Law. However, the Electoral Power, in seeking a means for conciliation, proposed to the parties concerned the extension of the only audit that remained, in order to complete the timetable of an election which has already concluded. The decision was made known to the country through a national broadcast, after which it was possible to take note of citizen Capriles‟ agreement. Nevertheless, in his following public statements, and those made by his spokespersons, he claimed that what he had approved was no longer enough, and that a different revision of the electoral process, to that which had been decided, needed to take place. This was manipulated, in order to create false expectations regarding the procedure, to the degree of conveying that the outcome of an extended verification [audit] would affect the election result. We have said so before, and we repeat it today: the purpose of the Citizen Verification Phase II procedure, as set out in Law, is to verify the correct functioning of the machine, thereby corroborating the match between the paper backup receipt for every vote and the record issued by the machine. In no way does it amount to a new vote count, and on no account does it affect the election results issued by this Electoral Power on the night of April 14th. Days after the approval of the extension, representatives of citizen Capriles‟ team submitted a different document to that originally presented, demanding impracticable revisions, since they lie outside of what a Citizen Verification entails, and of that approved in session; along with others which they had already carried out themselves, such as the audit of the electoral register and the production of voting record books, as reflected in the signed minutes for these procedures.
The request submitted The document we received on Wednesday 17th, signed by citizen Capriles, is in itself an attempt at contesting [the election], to which he has a legitimate right, as we have insisted. However, the document fails to meet two conditions, in order to be responded to by the National Electoral Council. Firstly, it is not up to the CNE to receive contestation requests in these cases. The Organic Law of Electoral Processes clearly states, in its article 202, that it is up to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to consider any resort against proceedings issued by this National Electoral Council. And secondly, the
document is accompanied by some annexes, which would not allow the Electoral Power to undertake any investigation regarding the complaints, because these do not point out with clarity or precision what are the facts supposedly undermining the norms; which polling booths; which records; who are the people involved; what is the possible harm done to voters? Anyone who puts forward charges on such a scale must provide a minimum of necessary elements, in order to ascertain whether these charges are indeed suppositions of fact, as per the norm, and consequently their truth may be established. The following are examples of this: the “Listing of Complaints”, which in reality is an inventory of reports, where information such as the following is put forward:
In the Caracas parish of San Pedro, “voting assistance to the elderly by polling booth members” was reported; In El Paraíso "they do not want to use the seal on the book, indicating that the voter has voted” (It is important to note that seal referred to here has not existed for at least 4 electoral events). In Aragua: "the machine went off; it was immediately resolved"; in this same state ¨witness Betsy did not attend" And in Barinas, on reporting that the type of problem was of a functionally limited witness, the clarification followed that it had been “Resolved. The incident never happened”.
Information such as this is abundant in the inventory submitted as proof. It amount to data with no precision whatever regarding possible damage to the vote, with no description of possible irregularities in the signed records, and in some cases, with no bearing on the functioning of the electoral system, and even less so on an alleged fraud against the sovereign will of voters. It is made up of a number of plates with photographs, and others with text and varied figures. In this regard, we would like to put forward the following examples:
A low quality image is shown, claiming that it matches “a person with non-verified identity cards”. This plate is not accompanied by any complaint before the Public Ministry (Office of the General Prosecutor); no reference is made to the polling booth record where these alleged identity cards may have been used, and no clear explanation as to the definition of "non-verified". In another: a low quality photograph is shown, with the image of a house front, claimed to correspond to “a house with a voting machine: Maracaibo, Ziruma quarter. They have a [voting] machine and have put in 10 buses with people voting". In this case, the image shows no voting machine whatever, nor does it show any of the buses to which reference is being made. No complaint before the Public Ministry or before security bodies is included; no reference whatsoever is made as to which polling centre the machine corresponds, or how those votes could be added to those of any given polling centre. A third plate registers 535 damaged machines, which would apparently affect 189.982 voters. There is no indication as to how it affects them, or what happened with the polling booths where these machines were from: whether these are machines which were replaced by the contingency plan, as in fact was the case, and the voting continued in electronic form, in keeping with established protocols. There are also two plates with texts denouncing that President Maduro obtained between 95% and 100% of votes in a number of polling booths. We are unaware as to how this implies any irregularity, since it is the expression of the electorate‟s behaviour. Note that Capriles obtained over 95% of the vote in 58 polling booths. Finally, there is a plate with the claim that witnesses were removed from 286 polling centres. This Electoral Power received no complaint of this kind on Election Day. But, in addition, there are only 6 instances of this situation recorded in the list of reports which makes up Annex A, and in none of the cases mentioned do the minimum elements exist, in order to confirm the truthfulness of this information.
These annexes are presented as proof of alleged electoral fraud, and as the basis for requesting a review, as though these could be said to constitute massive irregularities, affecting the results issued by the National Electoral Council. This request fails even to recognise the very nature of the paper backup for every vote cast: close to 15 million voters voted on April 14th and verified, through this [paper] backup, that their vote had been successfully registered in the
machine, as they had intended. This Electoral Power did not receive a single complaint where a voter claimed that the [paper] backup reflected a different option to that selected. The annexes of the above mentioned request do not constitute evidence whatsoever regarding how the alleged harm to a significant number of votes, in a specific number of polling centres and booths, with names and codes, took place; and how any such harm could have altered a result, which each of the candidates obtained in detail from this institution, so that they could analyse it and compare it with their signed records. Results which they hold in those records, and which were transmitted through the data network audited by them, both the day before and after the election, and regarding which there were no observations or evidence of any faults; supported by the fact that there is no single record of irregularities in the signed records, endorsed by all witnesses.
The audit: how we will carry it out Before talking about how we will perform this extension of the audit, it is important to remember that the Citizen Verification audit has already been carried out on 54% of all polling booths, that is, 20,800 polling booths. We have even been checking the records and have found that in some regions this verification was extended to 60% of polling booths. This procedure took place in absolute normality and within the usual parameters, that is, with zero error. Similarly, on Thursday April 18th, Citizen Verification phase II was carried out on 0.5% of polling booths, also with a zero error result. This Friday, in session, we approved the parameters to be employed for the extension of Citizen Verification Phase II. First, we would like to recall what this audit includes. Article 162 of the Organic Law of Electoral Processes indicates that the verification must take place through the revision of paper backup receipts for every vote cast, in relation to the data contained exclusively in the signed voting record, produced by polling booth members. The scope of this audit is clear. Article 437 of the Regulations for this Law cautions that, under no circumstances, is Citizen Verification to be considered a vote count, nor does it form a part of said procedure. Under these conditions, the National Electoral Council, in its Friday April 26 th session, defined the aspects that will be implemented in this verification, in compliance with article 163 of the above mentioned Law. These aspects are as follows: 1. A random sample will be taken from 46% of polling booths that were not audited on April 14 th. This will be defined in a work session with technicians from political organizations. 2. An audit will be carried out during 10 continuous days, after which a report must be made. This operation will be repeated, over a monthâ€&#x;s period, inclusive. 3. It will take place in a secure and technically controlled environment. 4. All efforts will be made to audit the largest possible number of polling booths per day, as far as the capacity in place at the Mariches Warehouse allows. 5. Political organization technicians will take part in the process. From the very moment the approval took place, this National Electoral Council began to make preparations, in order to guarantee the proper progress of this Citizen Verification. The Mariche facilities have been adapted, where all the safety boxes (containing the paper backups of the votes cast) have been taken, in keeping with the regular protocols, and in order to guarantee its completion in as little time as possible. The audit will take place with the technical team of the Universidad Central de Venezuela (Central Venezuelan University), which has accompanied our processes over several years.
Workforce taking part in the audit: Auditors (24); External audit assistants (60); CNE assistants (60); External coordinators (6); CNE coordinators (12); Political organization technicians (30): ACTIVITIES
Approval by the CNE of the audit proposal Technical session with political organizations Random sample draw Preparation of the electoral material to be audited Selection and training of auditing teams Accreditation of personnel First cycle of the audit procedure Second cycle of the audit procedure Third cycle of the audit procedure
25-04-2013 29-04-2013 30-04-2013 02-05 to 05-05-2013 30-04 to 02-05-2013 03-05-2013 06-05 to 15-05-2013 16-05 to 25-05-2013 26-05 to 04-06-2013
Venezuela is aware that this institution defends the will of voters; that our work is to guarantee the free and transparent expression of the sovereign will of Venezuelans. This is what we have demonstrated over these past years. We have responded with great responsibility and seriousness to the events unleashed following the April 14 th election. We have assured, from the very start, the rights of those concerned, and we insist up until today that any disagreement with the results must be pursued in keeping with the legal framework which governs Venezuelan Rule of Law. We remain steadfast in our work, in order to complete the Citizen Verification [process] and stay on top of pending activities, notably the re-launch of time frames for the Municipal Election, which we had been organizing before the snap event. To all Venezuelans we say: now is the hour for good sense, the time to strive for rationality and respect for the Constitution and the Law. It is the manifest duty of every citizen of this country to contribute to upholding national peace and building social togetherness. Letâ€&#x;s continue making true democracy! Tibisay Lucena President of the National Electoral Council (CNE) of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Caracas, April 27th, 2013 i
The original Statement in Spanish can be found on the CNE website at the following address: http://cne.gob.ve/web/sala_prensa/noticia_detallada.php?id=3177