I used to have an election day post when there was some surprise to be expected, when I bothered in going around taking picture of voting centers, etc. Now the international press covers all of that and my pen is not needed anymore. And twitter does a good job covering everything, be it from that German De Linke representative Simone Barrientos saying that the election today is wonderful, that people are voting with enthusiasm, to the pictures of empty voting stations.
So, how should we read the day?
First, the result does not matter as already explained many times in this blog. The only interesting fact to look forward is what is the margin of victory of Maduro. Will they go all bonkers and give him a 60%+ victory as an excuse to usher a new constitution fast that will make sure that never again the opposition will win a seat even at the condominium assembly? Or will they try to make it a more palatable showing, no more than 10 points above Falcon so as to make him the opposition "leader" and try to negotiate with the countries that have already announced that they will not recognize the result? My guess is that they will go bonkers, it is in their nature, they are totalitarians, "on m'élit roi, mon peuple m'aime" wrote long ago La Fontaine about those who crave power too much (they elect me king, my people loves me).
The other data is already known: participation is obviously down from a normal election. The pictures and videos flood tweetosphere. We will never know of course how many people voted, the CNE will make sure it reaches at least a 50% participation. They already made out of thin air more than a million votes last July. It worked. Why not 2 million this time around? (1)
At this time we can be sure that chavismo is tracking down supporters to dragoon them to the voting centers this afternoon. That is why they have the CNE and the PSUV "red points" in front of the voting center of the more popular sectors working together. At noon they knew already who voted by 11 AM, who did not, etc. Amazingly journalists have picked up fast on that, on people that now find it normal to go stand in line at the voting station and then to the red point to make sure CLAP food keeps reaching them. The patronage system, when it is so heartless and frontal works better than when it is more discreet. People are not even in denial on why they vote for Maduro. They just stopped to care, they know there will be no change.
What else can we look for? Well, one thing is how quickly Henri Falcon will recognize the Maduro victory. if it is before midnight it will be the final nail in his coffin. If it is after midnight, we may have to read his exact words to get a clue. But I am pretty sure that after an election where Maduro has praised Falcon more than attacking him we can guess what the outcome will be for Falcon in the coming weeks. The question is what level job will he get. An embassy? A ministry? The VP seat in a fake national union regime? Your guess.
And with this I end up this post. Unless something surprising comes up, worth either an update or a a new entry for the day.
1) There is a Maduro bed rock voting. Polls give him 20% favor. If indeed there are 20 million registered voters he should mobilize 4 million votes. Where will he get the 2 million extra he needs to make sure he beats Falcon without cheating (too much cheating I mean)?
If indeed 14 million people have a "father land ID" then he has 14 million he can blackmail. That 14 million number cannot be audited of course. Never was I offered the chance to sign up had I wanted to do so. I would have had to go out of my way to a chavista stronghold to sign up.
So, just for the sake of it, let's do some math, assuming that indeed 14 million could be blackmailed into submission:
4 million will vote for Maduro, no question asked.
3,2 million will not vote, there is always a congenital 30% abstention for X,Y or Z reason.
That leaves us roughly 6 million that are available for real blackmail. Some of them in "safer" voting center will vote for Falcon or nul or any of the below. We can assume that amount to be at least 3 million (I count the S.O. in that group since he has to vote because even though he has no "carné" last time at the office they knew he had voted and we cannot afford to lose his income and insurance thus I am OK with him voting but for Visconti if he cannot vote nul for any reason).
Thus the total, if votes are actually counted, cannot go above 7 million for Maduro
Falcon can receive about 2 form the "any from below" plus 1 million of naive opposition that goes and vote anyway (a childhood friend is voting and even today keeps sending me stuff to go and vote). That leaves him with 3 million top.
Do the math, 7+3 is already more than what you see in the streets today. Thus any result close to this "prediction" will involve vote making somewhere. Only if the total vote is below 8 million the vote counting, not the election per se, will have any credibility. Does anyone really think that Maduro will be happy with 5 million votes?
Sub note: I did not consider the evangelical candidate. He could be a factor taking away an extra million from Maduro, but nothing from Falcon. We would still be 6+3+1. Same difference.