Iraq, Oct. 16, 2002: 100 percent of registered voters went to the polls (nobody in the whole country was sick that day) and every single one of the country’s 11,445,638 voters in a referendum voted “yes” to extend Saddam Hussein’s hold on power (including all the Shia and Kurds who hated him and all the people who famously tore down his statue six months later). North Korea, March 8, 2009: 99.8 percent of all registered voters turned out for a Supreme People’s Assembly election (amazing how almost nobody gets sick or travels on election day). The entire voting public — 100 percent — voted for candidates of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, dominated by the Kim family, which has ruled North Korea for almost 70 years. If you believe those “official” numbers or that any of those elections were fair, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you; and if you believe the results reported by the Venezuelan government in Sunday’s constituent assembly vote, I’ll sell you that same bridge a second time.
The latest vote in Venezuela should now be added to the long list of sham “elections” held by authoritarian regimes that have abandoned or never had any semblance of true democracy. The government of Nicolas Maduro claims more than 8 million people voted to support an unconstitutional constituent assembly that’s intended to formalize a one-party communist state, extending and strengthening the power of the unpopular Maduro.
If that many Venezuelans voted to support Maduro, it would have been a tremendous victory. Unfortunately for the Venezuelan president, the results are patently absurd. Maduro was elected in 2013 with 500,000 fewer votes. Two years later, his socialist party lost 2 million of those voters, only mustering 5.6 million in an overwhelming defeat in parliamentary elections.