April 26, 2013 -
Following the death of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an election was held in the country and it came down to the wire. Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro won the election by less than 2 percent and now Henrique Capriles Radonski, leader of the opposition, is demanding an audit of the entire election including fingerprints stored in the election registry.
At a press conference this week, Capriles demanded the National Election Council begin the audit immediately and that he and his campaign won’t wait any longer. As reported in Venezuelan Analysis, in addition to demanding an audit, the Capriles campaign has demanded the Election Council validate every fingerprint and signature in the system to ensure no votes had been made fraudulently.
“If it doesn’t include the electoral registry, then it is not an audit. We won’t accept a shoddy audit,” Capriles said.
Since making these demands, many government officials have decried the ultimatum saying what the Capriles campaign wants is impossible to achieve.
Following the Maduro victory, Capriles called on his supporters to stage a peaceful cacerolazo, a popular form of protest which involves banging pots and pans in the streets to call for attention to the protest’s cause.
According to a report in the Guardian, these protests have since been called off, but the government has said the demonstrations led to the death of nine people, as well as the burning down of clinics and party headquarters and many injuries.
This isn’t the first time the results from an election using a biometric registry has been challenged. Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party in Ghana called on the electoral commission in the country to clarify the status of all biometric verification machines used in the country’s December 7 election, following reports of mysterious instructions to reset biometric machines to zero verification at polling stations.
Showing a similarly close result to the recent Venezuelan election, the National Democratic Congress party’s John Dramani Mahama won the election with 50.7% of the vote.
Also, in Kenya’s recent election using biometric verification machines, the machines were heavily criticized for technical problems which led to long delays and in many cases, non-functional verification devices.