The Venezuelan electoral system is the most reliable in the world, because it can be audited and verified at every stage, said Jennifer McCoy, director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program. She made the comments while visiting the Panorama publishing house, where she was welcomed by its president, Patricia Pineda. McCoy came to Venezuela a few days ago and observed the mock electoral test of last Sunday (5 Aug 2012) in Vargas state. She noted that the Carter Center is currently discussing whether it will participate as an international observer in the October 7 [presidential] election.
Panorama: What was your impression of the mock electoral test? McCoy: It was very interesting, people’s reactions were very positive, the voting process was very efficient, and no one found any problems.
Panorama: What do you think of the new Integrated Authentication System (SAI in its Spanish acronym)? McCoy: It is the most comprehensive that, electronically speaking, I’ve seen in the world, because all steps are automated. In the US, where I vote, it [the voting system] is only automated from the moment I touch the screen. Over here it is very interesting. This new identification system is new to the world and we understand that it’s a measure that prevents the possibility of double voting and identity theft. We have heard rumours that in the past it was possible that local election officials could add a lot of votes just by tapping the button, but which now is not possible because you have to identify your fingerprint to activate the system. We saw people trying it and when the voter puts their fingerprint and if there is a match then the machine authorizes [the person] to vote.
Panorama: Based on your experience, how is the Venezuelan electoral system compared with those of other countries?
McCoy: [In Venezuela] There are many mechanisms of control, of system security, but the most important one is that you can verify and audit. The National Electoral Council [CNE in its Spanish acronym] works with the [existing] political parties so that they participate in all the audits; its transparency is what gives it confidence. Any system has advantages and disadvantages and none is 100% infallible, for example in the Electoral Register there are still some errors. Each society must determine which system is best for them and when they choose one what is important is that there are systems of verification and that political parties send their observers and that citizens verify. With this system the possibility of error is removed because it is all automated, as long as you do the audits to verify that the software is not tampered with.