Why People Want an Election Recount in Venezuela

The results announced by the National Electoral Council (CNE), however, come from information that is sent electronically from each voting machine to a central vote counting hub. Not from a manual count of voting receipts deposited in ballot boxes.

Matute says that electricity issues or problems with the internet could mess up the CNE's vote count by affecting the transfer of information from individual voting machines to the central hub.

"That is why the papers that are left behind should be counted, as they help us to verify the info that is transmitted electronically to the CNE," Matute said. The CNE, however, claimed that it had already counted 54 percent of voting receipts -- a claim disputed by the opposition -- and that it did not need to count all of them.

But Matute added that there were approximately 40,000 voting machines in use in Venezuela on election day, with each machine processing around 375 votes. If each machine failed to transfer 3 or 4 votes properly -- a 1 percent margin of error -- those errors could make up for the 300,000 vote gap between Maduro and Capriles.

3. Some segments of the population do not trust the CNE

Beyond the technicalities and reports of violations in voting centers, there is another problem in Venezuela. The National Electoral Council, the agency in charge of organizing elections and counting the votes, has very limited credibility amongst some sectors of Venezuelan society, who say the agency sides with the current government.

Critics of the CNE claim that it has repeatedly failed to act on complaints filed by the opposition on the use of public funds for the campaigns of Maduro and other socialist candidates, who use the resources of state companies at will to organize rallies and mobilize their voters. In the month leading up to the October election in which Chávez participated, and in the month leading up to this election, the CNE also ignored complaints about excessive airtime for socialist candidates on publicly funded TV channels.

Given this context, it makes sense that many opposition supporters in Venezuela are suspicious of figures published by the CNE, particularly in such a tight election.

The CNE claims that it is neutral because it has organized races for municipal mayors and state governors in which opposition candidates have been declared the winners. But rejecting the request for a recount in this presidential election certainly hurts the agency's credibility.

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