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Venezuela: 8 million illegal entries in electoral roll

By Miguel Octavio

16.07.06 | Given the outcry of the opposition over the Electoral Registry in the last two years the former President of the Electoral Board always claimed that the registry was pristine and that the opposition was just making noise. Then last year, the CNE hired CAPEL to do an audit of the registry and we were told that the registry was fine and that, once again, the opposition was making much ado about nothing.

Nevertheless the CNE refused to hand over the complete registry with addresses to political parties because this would "violate the privacy of the citizens" in a country where the tax office requires that you give your address for purchases. In the past the registry, with addresses was turned over to the political parties for revision and it was clearly given to the Chavistas since the Chavez/Tascon/Maisanta database contains the addresses of all those registered to vote as well as their voting record.

Recently, someone actually leaked the complete Electoral Registry for all but one state (Amazonas) to the Social Christian party COPEI. The findings are just incredible:

1) Between January 2004 and May 2004, 2 million new voters were registered. Of these, 1.7 million do not have addresses.

2) 2.1 million voters in the registry have the same address: Quinta Margabel in the El Llanito area of Caracas, Miranda State. This is a small house whose owner is dead. Now, what is interesting is that these voters are found to vote in many states from Nueva Esparta (Margarita Island) to Tachira in the border with Colombia.

3) 4 million voters have as an address the cryptic entry: D.L. 345 P.N.I.

This means that more than 8 million voters are illegally registered to vote. You see, Art. 100 of the suffrage law states that voters are obligated to provide the address of their residence and if you change residences you have 45 days to provide your new data. Not doing is penalized by law.

The reason for this is obvious. If you do not provide your address you could register to vote anywhere and political parties could manipulate groups to change the outcome of elections that are very tight, particularly in regional contests where the outcome may be determined by just a few hundred votes. Thus, you are supposed to provide your address and you have to vote in the same electoral circuit where you reside.

In any other country this revelation by COPEI authorities, which included the accusation that the registry was manipulated at an office in a separate building from the CNE, would have been a scandal, elections would be postponed until the registry could be fixed and those responsible would be fired.

But in revolutionary Venezuela the response is the usual: The Electoral authorities respond by saying that the alternate building is part of the CNE, but say absolutely nothing about the other charges.

And some fools still think this is a democracy!

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