Sunday, October 14, 2012

The 2012 Prez results: electoral fraud galore in Venezuela

There is outright electoral fraud and there is indirect electoral fraud. However, which one is the most effective depends on the situation. The big difference between the forms of electoral fraud is that the direct electoral fraud is usually cheaper, you just need to stuff the ballot box with the desired count. However, when found out, the consequences may be harsh for the cheating side. On the other hand  indirect fraud is considerably more expensive but it has the advantage that when everything is said and done those who sold their vote for any or other reason, did vote for the winner in the end. El Universal today carries some interesting information showing that both forms of fraud were at play one week ago.

Direct electoral fraud

It cannot be proven, yet; however there are hints that it took place, but to an extent that could not have affected the final result.

In a lengthy article El Universal looks at the different voting centers and finds quite a few where Capriles did not get a single vote (39) while there is no center where Chavez did not get at least a vote. Also, there are 4 centers which strangely had 100% participation  I mean, this can happen in a small village of a 100 souls where all know each other and are willing to help each one go to the voting station, regardless of political differences. But in urban centers? And nobody made a mistake in those 100% Chavez center?

There are of course some logical possible explanations. It is possible that the CNE reshuffling voters around did create areas where 100% of the population is chavista or chavista influenced. But we must remember that in 2004 the electronic fraud existed, has been statistically established in peer reviewed scientific papers and thus there is a precedent in the regime to butter up its electoral results. We also know that whenever the regime is going to lose an election they have no scruples in annulling them (look at trade union or autonomous university votes).

It is my opinion that the opposition this time around had enough surveillance to make sure that ballot stuffing did not take place at any significant level, but after reading El Universal today I am convinced that the regime did at least test some methods of ballot stuffing just to see how it could work out at a future date. I am sure that they are pleased by the result and that their method will be successfully refined.

Still, let's not be carried away. From that Universal article if such electronic fraud did take place it cannot have concerned more than a couple hundred thousand votes, no more than 1% of the electorate  Otherwise by now it would have been only too obvious. My suggestion is for the opposition to start getting more serious on such electronic fraud and look carefully at what happened in those voting centers.

Cost? -100,000 for oppo 

Indirect electoral fraud

Unfortunately, it is clear now that this is where the opposition lost the day. And clearly, it was due because the 100% monitoring did not work out and even if, as Leopoldo Lopez claims, less than 1% of the tables were not monitored, too many of those who were monitored did not get the necessary attention. Why? They quit in the middle of the day? They were infiltrated chavistas that in fact worked against the opposition making things worse? Another thing that the opposition needs to come clear with, and quickly. It is not a matter of alloting the blame, it is a matter of taking corrective measures.

In my opinion, away form rumors and conspiracy theories of all sorts, there are two real ways in which the indirect electoral vote fraud worked this time around. One was to discourage opposition voters to vote, and the second was to bring in the chavista vote at the end of the day. All of this fraud is directly to be faulted with the CNE when it decided to extend voting hours from 6 AM to 6 PM. So the culprit of all the irregularities that appeared last Sunday is the electoral board CNE, not only through its lax policies but to a schedule that favors whichever side has the biggest electoral machine by giving it time to work.

Discouraging oppo voters

This was accomplished by  creating a morning bottle neck. People were forced to go through a pre-identification step where supposedly you were told your voting table number and given a piece of paper to guide you there. This was totally useless because at the entry of the voting centers you had billboards that already gave you your table number based on your ID last digits.

So, what gave?

In retrospect there were two major advantages for chavismo. First, as I observed in my election day post, chavista centers went smoothly whereas opposition centers got desperately jammed.  I even wrote, naively, that it may have been due to finger print detection system because chavista centers had already been duly documented through the misiones which often require finger printing. It was not, it was the bottleneck of a couple of computers checking for hundred of people ID. The first effect is that many people went back home, thinking about trying later, which I did. But if I came back at 3PM  to vote without any trouble, how many never went back to vote? It is worthy to note that abstention was higher, by ten points, in many opposition strongholds of Caracas where that deliberate jamming took place.

The opposition must make sure that this bottleneck is removed for December.

Cost? -100,000 for oppo

Preparing for the seek the vote operation

But the biggest benefit of the slowing down described above is that it gave plenty of time for chavismo to figure out who of their flock was voting. At noon, with 6 hours of voting, with perhaps as much as 40% of the country already done with, it was easy in a couple of hours for chavismo to go through their lists and start at 2 PM an operation to go and look for those who had not voted yet. There was 4 hours left for that, and in addition the CNE only closed voting centers past 6:30 PM, giving in practice a full hour more for chavista voters. That is why the lousy exit polls done went Capriles at 2 PM and the election went to Chavez at 6 PM.

El Universal tells us how it worked out.  There is that memo from the Nazional Guard participation in the bringing out of the vote (a PDF here). Something of course totally illegal, but who is counting the number of crimes to be attributed to the Nazional Guard? Will the opposition demand that the CNE seek an explanation for such a document?

But in practice, the biggest abuse was that all of the state resources were used shamelessly to carry voters to their stations, even ambulances were used. Hopefully no one got into some medical emergency that day.... You need to read the description of the chavista juggernaut in organizing the seek out the vote operation, from large computing centers coordinating everything, to even well furnished kitchens to feed people as early as 3 AM.

We must not forget that a get out the vote operation is valid anywhere. What makes this one unacceptable is that it was made at the state's expense, with the deliberate help of the army. The opposition also had a bring out the vote operation, but based on volunteers which were already heavily taxed by the need to monitor the voting centers. In these voting centers, there is already an overwhelming majority of chavistas drafted by the CNE and paid for it. In other words, the opposition did not have a chance, it had to pay for the little bit it could do while the huge chavista operation was at no expense for them, just for the tax payer.

The cost?  -300,000 for the opposition, at least an extra >500,000 for chavismo

How do I come up with these numbers?

There was a strong intimidation to vote. I already described how the secrecy of the vote was compromised in many centers. But also, if it is 4 PM and an angry chavista knock at your door to tell you that how come you have not voted considering all what Chavez has given you, well, you are scared and you certainly are ready to believe that they will also know how you are going to vote.  Thus not only 300,000 potential Capriles voters got scared to vote for him and did so for Chavez  but the bring out the vote pressure gave Chavez an extra 500,000 voters. That is, for every vote got by the opposition through seeking actively voters, chavismo probably got 5.

Add it all together and what we get is 1,000,000 votes of Chavez advantage victory that he does not deserve.  Note, with that number I still give Chavez a victory since even if I were to shave that 1 million number from his score he still would be getting half a million ahead. But at least that number would be more in agreement with the general tone of the campaign.

It remains that my opinion of Sunday night is still valid, that too many of those Chavez voters are sinvergüenzas because in spite of the disastrous current state of the country and even if abused by the get out the vote proceeding of chavismo, they did not have the guts to vote for Capriles  thus approving of such a way to rule.  Every country has the government it deserves, and so richly stated in Venezuela.


  1. How about vote secrecy?. Another Tascon list in the making? Chavez has achieved 3 greats objective, 1) this one, 2) victory and 3)shinnning democratic credentials outside with the exception of USA, Canada and Spain who know better and delivered a diplomatic slap to the Great Democrat.

    1. Uh? What diplomatic slap?

      As for Tascon. It is of no electoral use anymore since twice as many vote oppo. What is more useful is Maisanta which is the list of all those who get any benefit from the regime. Those you can blackmail.

    2. Oops! I am afraid I erased one comment of yours. Please, post again.

  2. Daniel, it was just some info of what they think of Smartmatic and other assorted equipment overseas. You are probably aware of it. Personally, I was not.

  3. Overlooked the diplomatic slap. The 3 countries congratulated the Venezuelan people but "forgot" to congratulate the winner. That is supposed to be a no-no. So they know exactly who they are dealing with, just another rogue. Conversely Mr Normal could not refrain but send his warmest congratulations.

  4. Anonymous4:26 AM

    Hi Daniel,

    I posted this a CC when somebody asked about the inocent laptpos:

    Of course the laptops were used to monitor real time (or every few minutes) who was voting, why were they equipped with a pair of BIG Wi Fi antennas if they were supposed to have a database of the voting center ?

    On the simulacro I asked one of the persons who was using a laptop if he could tell me which were the voting centers that were offering a demostration on how to use the voting machines, and he said a little nervous that he had no access to Internet, so he could not give that information…. of course he had access, why did he use pair of Wi Fi antenas he had for ?

    it would have been simple to cross voters with tascon list and misiones database and estimate votes on real time. Nelson Bocaranda has an article about a strategy used by PSUV:

    The first time that the captahuellas (fingerprint scanners) were used, Jorge Rodriguez had a slip when he said that so many people were voting per hour…



  5. Anonymous4:35 AM

    There are several more little tricks like pushing button A and the slip (and electronic vote)saying that you pushed button B, they could try it a few votes per center. This supposely happened in the revocatorio referendum when a few people who voted No got a SI slip.



  6. Anonymous4:38 AM

    Urru Urru has a good list of papers and decalarations of the 2004 refrendum:


  7. I think that it is important that we do not focus on electronic fraud. That some may have happened a week ago makes little doubt in my mind. However blaming Capriles defeat on electronic fraud is a disservice because it excuses us from unacceptable work we did elsewhere. That is, electronic fraud is no excuse for us not to have duly trained witnesses at each table, reliable, that stay the whole process, with a legal support in case they got into conflict with Plan Republica or CNE, etc, etc...

    We need to discuss fraud outside the damn machine because this is were chavismo got us. I am sure that this time around we were better than ever, but this time around chavismo managed again to be one step ahead of us. We need the Commando Venezuela to come out with all of its failures, not to blame them for their mistakes as people like Poleo would like to do, but to make people aware that they need to involve themselves more, much more in the electoral process if they ever want to get rid of chavismo. Replacing Leopoldo or Acevedo or Capriles is not the solution, helping them to get better is.

    Of coruse, I assume that they want to get better....

    1. You are probably right, but it will take some time, not only because Capriles and the like need to grow but also time to get rid of the deadwood, the Petkof and other left over from the fourth who will fall by the wayside in time for a newer generation to replace them. Mind you Chavez is also a product of the fourth. Fresh blood is needed.

  8. Venezuela half of the population (the so called apatridas or "stateless people") is blacklisted by not being registered in the PSUV and/or being in one of the opposition lists, e.g. Maisanta, Tascon etc. and this **is** important because that 50% is **not** eligible to benefit from Mision Vivienda. Indeed, Venezuela is the first country where computerized blacklists have been massively applied to engineer an oppressive apartheid state. Venezuelans don't know yet how important their country will be in the history of political science.

    The chavistas know this and they rejoice in their connivance within the apartheid state. In their eyes, their connivance is justified because the apatridas are "blanquitos," (= people who strive for self-sufficiency, assumed to include whites, but actually going beyond race to include all who share this attitude irrespective of skin color). To put it another way, in the eyes of the chavistas, there is no scandal in supporting an apartheid state, because Venezuela is a country where the rogue, in all shamelessness, is considered a hero and blessed with the complimentary title of "vivo" or "pajaro bravo."

    1. LT

      Forget about Tascon. At 3 million it is severely outdated with the 6.5 millon Capriles got. It certainly is still used as integrated in the Maisanta to maintain these 3 million in the dog house. But after 14 years of populism and vote buying the lists from the misiones, and not only the mision vivienda which I understand has been one of the most complete so far as it know links whole families in its forced bond to the regime, is what really yields dividends for the regime.

      See, when the regime is able to tell you that you received this and that at this and that date and that your relative X depends on your good will and support, amen of you own interests, then not only it is easier to drag them to the voting booth but also to make them believe that the regime has ways to know if you indeed voted for Chavez. I suspect that the strangely high number of chavistas voting for Chavez through the small allies may be a result of a way to express their discomfort by at least not voting PSUV. Read my previous post on the "little friends"

  9. I am glad you talk about this issue.
    Juan and Francisco tells us plainly we are crazy.
    I provided a subset of the duplicate records from the CNE data. They are evidence of fraud and yet people discard them because "they are only 40000 records". Yes, but it only shows shameless fraud. This would be enough in any democratic country for an open inquiry to take place...not so in Venezuela. We detected these records because they were just too obvious: full four-word names matching for records with the same birth date and the same voting centre or one close by.
    If someone could do that, he could have added also new records with different birth dates...perfectly possible and then almost impossible to detect less there is a random search for those people.

    That's just the tip of the iceberg.

    There are the PDVSA vehicles I talked about in my blog (and I added pictures about them). There were the thugs that blocked the entrance to opposition-minded people in several areas of Carabobo, as witnesses told me and so on.

    We still lost because we had less voters.

    Still, people need to understand this: autocrats need to win by an ample margin. That is why Putin, who certainly has a clear majority in Russia, still needs to pressurize, cajole people, manipulate in many ways.

    1. Since I am taking an extended break from their blog I certainly cannot discuss their thoughts.

      However, from what I see, outright fraud from electronic voting to phantom rolls of voters has been limited this time around. One reason is that the ink stained finger has worked out well and thus it was not easy to vote more than once. True, in a chavista held center without any opposition witness, a few could have voted more than once but the overall impact must not have been more than around 1%.

      What worries me more, and that is my conspiracy theory of the day, is that the regime has tested small scale options for future electronic fraud. I think the MUD experts should have a close look at these tables with 100% participation or vote. There are statistical simple ways to look at irregularities such as looking at the null votes, historical trends, etc...

    2. And of course modern day autocrats run what is termed "plebiscite systems". All elections are centered around the autocrat who uses at discretion the resources of the state for the necessary victory. In a democracy you can win and rule with a one vote majority because the minority knows that their basic rights will be respected but also that they have a real chance at becoming a majority some day. But in an autocracy it is essential to project large majorities at all times as the most efficient way to discourage formation of an opposition.

      Incidentally, years ago I wrote a post about the first regime that used plebiscite to validate its hold. The French invented it with Napoleon III. Again, you may call me Cassandra.

    3. And indeed Napoleon III was a real success (Sedan anyone?)

    4. Oh, come on Charly.... It served him well for 18 years and had it not been for Sedan........ You know, Sedan=Sercoma?


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