Archive for August 16th, 2004

Doubts but no proof, can’t say more than we lost

August 16, 2004

It has been a long three days. I have had so little sleep it is absolutely ridiculous. I have tried as much as possible to report the facts as they happened, interpreting little, as writing when you are tired and emotional is always dangerous, unless you are writing poetry.


At this point I have to accept that we lost. Until I see a piece of paper showing that the machines and the paper ballot were inconsistent, there is little that I can say. Do I think there was fraud? If only one exit poll existed, performed by a flight by night operation, I would say there was no chance. If I did not know people directly that participated in them, I would say no chance. But the truth is that there were at least three exit polls, one of them performed by US firm Penn, Schoen and Berland. All three were consistent. And my friends involved in the exit polls are very adamant today. So I have to be suspicious at a 17% margin of error in the exit polls. But I can not go beyond that. I can not accuse, I can only ask for more explanations.


 


What is amazing to me is that such doubts could be quickly removed from all of us by some simple audits. By tomorrow night all doubts could be dissipated if the CNE made this a priority. And if they dont, people will get even more suspicious. For the sake of our future, I hope they do it and everyone can be sure about what happened. Either way.

Doubts but no proof, can’t say more than we lost

August 16, 2004

It has been a long three days. I have had so little sleep it is absolutely ridiculous. I have tried as much as possible to report the facts as they happened, interpreting little, as writing when you are tired and emotional is always dangerous, unless you are writing poetry.


At this point I have to accept that we lost. Until I see a piece of paper showing that the machines and the paper ballot were inconsistent, there is little that I can say. Do I think there was fraud? If only one exit poll existed, performed by a flight by night operation, I would say there was no chance. If I did not know people directly that participated in them, I would say no chance. But the truth is that there were at least three exit polls, one of them performed by US firm Penn, Schoen and Berland. All three were consistent. And my friends involved in the exit polls are very adamant today. So I have to be suspicious at a 17% margin of error in the exit polls. But I can not go beyond that. I can not accuse, I can only ask for more explanations.


 


What is amazing to me is that such doubts could be quickly removed from all of us by some simple audits. By tomorrow night all doubts could be dissipated if the CNE made this a priority. And if they dont, people will get even more suspicious. For the sake of our future, I hope they do it and everyone can be sure about what happened. Either way.

More bloodshed in Altamira Square

August 16, 2004

Unfortunately, now there is more bloodshed associated with the election. Some people were protesting in Plaza Altamira this afternoon when some cars and motorcycles showed up with supposedly pro-Chavez supporters. These three guys are seen shooting in this image. Eight people were injured including Solidaridad Deputy Ernesto Alvarenga


Explaining quick polls and exit polls

August 16, 2004

Now I understand a little better what Carter and Gaviria said. Let me explain. You vote in an electronic machine. At the end of the day the machine has a total that is transcribed and then transmitted to the CNE. There were three exit polls performed and there were various quick polls performed.


In an exit poll you ask voters how they voted. In the quick poll you check that the total at the machine level is the same registered at the CNE after transmission. What the Carter Center did was quick polls and they say they coincide with the results. Moreover, Carter said that Sumate also did a quick poll and it also coincides with the results, although the difference is smaller.


What does not coincide is that the results of the three exit polls does not correspond to what the quick polls say in the sme centers. Supposedly, 1% of the machines were going to be checked manually, by counting the paper ballots printed by the machines when you voted and comparing with the results of the machines. This was not done. There is a 15-18% difference between the two types of poll.


All exit polls agree with each other within error. The CD is asking that 2-3% of the polling stations be checked and the number of paper ballots coincide with the results of the machines. Thus, if fraud took place it took place at the machine level.


If this is not done within the next two days, this will simply remain a mistery for years to come. For the peace of mind of the country the CNE should do this and if possible do all polling stations to remove any lingering doubts.


(Daniel has a graph of the voting process explaing the various steps)

Carter and Gaviria endorse CNE results

August 16, 2004

Carter and Gaviria speaking. Carter says that a quick check his Center performed at the totalization center and at selected voting locations, coincides with the CNE announcement. Gaviria was more careful at the beginning, but later supported the quick count mentioned by Carter. Gaviria said that the opposition should present the cases of fraud it has found and that the OAS with the evidence presented can not say there was fraud, but may later find something else. Carter said that Sumate had an exit poll with No ahead 55% to 45%, but then Gaviria seemed to contradict him saying that it was 52% for the Si and 48% for the NO. Carter more emphatic than Gaviria but both backing the results unless evidence of fraud is presented.


My friends, unles something earth shaking can be proven, we have now to accept the results.

Carter and Gaviria endorse CNE results

August 16, 2004

Carter and Gaviria speaking. Carter says that a quick check his Center performed at the totalization center and at selected voting locations, coincides with the CNE announcement. Gaviria was more careful at the beginning, but later supported the quick count mentioned by Carter. Gaviria said that the opposition should present the cases of fraud it has found and that the OAS with the evidence presented can not say there was fraud, but may later find something else. Carter said that Sumate had an exit poll with No ahead 55% to 45%, but then Gaviria seemed to contradict him saying that it was 52% for the Si and 48% for the NO. Carter more emphatic than Gaviria but both backing the results unless evidence of fraud is presented.


My friends, unles something earth shaking can be proven, we have now to accept the results.

Carter and Gaviria endorse CNE results

August 16, 2004

Carter and Gaviria speaking. Carter says that a quick check his Center performed at the totalization center and at selected voting locations, coincides with the CNE announcement. Gaviria was more careful at the beginning, but later supported the quick count mentioned by Carter. Gaviria said that the opposition should present the cases of fraud it has found and that the OAS with the evidence presented can not say there was fraud, but may later find something else. Carter said that Sumate had an exit poll with No ahead 55% to 45%, but then Gaviria seemed to contradict him saying that it was 52% for the Si and 48% for the NO. Carter more emphatic than Gaviria but both backing the results unless evidence of fraud is presented.


My friends, unles something earth shaking can be proven, we have now to accept the results.

Some questions from Petkoff and one from me

August 16, 2004

These are some of the questions made by Tal Cual’s Editor Teodoro Petkoff in today’s Editorial:


CNE Directors Zamora and Mejas made very grave charges, for which public opinions require an explanation. How is it possible that the witnesses of the opposition witnesses (the same with pro-Chvez witnesses, that by the way, not even showed up) did not have access to the room where the results were calculated? How is it possible that no result from the random audit of the voting machines was ever presented? How is it possible that not only could the opposition witnesses not enter, but they never received their badges to be present at the audit? How can they give partial results with having certified the cover sheets of the results? Who computed the final results if the members of the committee that was supposed to do that composed of Jorge Rodriguez, Ezequiel Zamora, Luis Ramirez and Andres Brito, never met? This newspaper that has consistently advocated for the recognition that the parts had to have for the results, can not but express his doubts as well as request, for the same reason, a comparison of the physical vote and the numbers given out by the machines. The country also has the right to ask that the observers of the OAS and the Carter Center evaluate both the process and the results. If not, the suspicion that what happen was nothing but a steal will only become more consistent every day.


 And I would like to add one: How come abstention was in the end 37.5% if CNE Director Rodriguez spent the whole afternoon saying that it would return to historically low levels?

Some questions

August 16, 2004

I will not ban anyone from the comments, but please try to be civil to each other. I think everyone should understand that we needed a clean result and there wasn’t one so far. There are significant contradictions in the announcement by Carrasquero and he should have made an effort to reach a unanimous decision even if it involved waiting a few hours. If the Carter Center and the OAS do not endorse the results, we are facing unstable times ahead. All of us! Whether you support Chvez or not! At this time, there are many questions, let’s organize them and try, please, to center the discussion around these issues, you are free to talk about anything you want, God, the Red Sox (they lost yesterday too), but I would like to hear what people believe and think objectively about all of these issues:


1) Should Carrasquero have waited?


2) Why haven’t the Carter Center and the OAS said anything? Will they? Should we care (I do!)


 3) Should we count the paper ballots center by center and match those results to the machines?


 4) What about other international observers, should they tell us about their report? Are they all simply sleeping?


 5) Do the results make sense when compared to the number of signatures? Compared to the number of signatures of all of the petition processes?


6) Does it sound reasonable that the two CNE Directors that do not support Chvez were excluded from the process of totalling the votes?


Thank You

Some questions

August 16, 2004

I will not ban anyone from the comments, but please try to be civil to each other. I think everyone should understand that we needed a clean result and there wasn’t one so far. There are significant contradictions in the announcement by Carrasquero and he should have made an effort to reach a unanimous decision even if it involved waiting a few hours. If the Carter Center and the OAS do not endorse the results, we are facing unstable times ahead. All of us! Whether you support Chvez or not! At this time, there are many questions, let’s organize them and try, please, to center the discussion around these issues, you are free to talk about anything you want, God, the Red Sox (they lost yesterday too), but I would like to hear what people believe and think objectively about all of these issues:


1) Should Carrasquero have waited?


2) Why haven’t the Carter Center and the OAS said anything? Will they? Should we care (I do!)


 3) Should we count the paper ballots center by center and match those results to the machines?


 4) What about other international observers, should they tell us about their report? Are they all simply sleeping?


 5) Do the results make sense when compared to the number of signatures? Compared to the number of signatures of all of the petition processes?


6) Does it sound reasonable that the two CNE Directors that do not support Chvez were excluded from the process of totalling the votes?


Thank You

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