Election results decried by government opponents as a brazen power grab were manipulated by at least 1 million votes, the company that provided Venezuela with its voting system said Wednesday. Antonio Mugica, chief executive of London-based Smartmatic, which has provided technology for Venezuelan elections since 2004, said it detected an inflated turnout figure Sunday through the nation’s automated balloting system. “With the deepest regret, we have to say that the turnout data presented on Sunday, July 30 for the constituent election was manipulated,” Mugica said at a news conference in London. His company’s analysis of the data, Mugica said, suggested an inflated number of “at least 1 million” — a potentially important difference that would allow the government to claim a higher turnout than an opposition-held unofficial ballot last month.
The announcement adds to growing allegations of massive irregularities in the election, which selected a new pro-government super congress with vast powers to change the constitution and suppliant the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
The vote has been internationally condemned. The Trump administration, which slapped sanctions on President Nicolás Maduro on Monday, described it as a “sham election” that has turned Venezuela into a de facto dictatorship.