Archive for August, 2004

The Carter Center: With observers like these, who needs observers?

August 27, 2004

Reading the audit report by the Carter Center is painful. Painful because it is sloppy, painful because it leaves a lot of material out or says things without explaining that what was done went either against the rules of the audit, an audit or the agreements made. Finally the technical aspects described are so poor and unconvincing that it makes you wonder who wrote it and if anyone approved it before releasing it. It makes you wonder if the reason that it is only available in Spanish is so that many will have no critical access to it.


Let’s look at some details:


 


-The report does not say that the boxes with the ballots were not under the observation of the Carter Center for over 65 hours, but goes in painstaking detail about how there were two observers from the OAS and the Center per state after that “grace” period and the like.


 


-The report fails to mention that the opposition requested, but was denied the opportunity to choose 50 ballot boxes to audit. This is without doubt the biggest mystery in the whole process, why didn’t the CNE allow the opposition to pick some voting centers, forcing a random sample after denying any possibility of the random sample during the petition drive to have the recall? CNE Director said in that case, he did not trust a sample and the issue was too important. Talk about a double standard, or is it a single one?


 


-The report mentions that 50 extra boxes were picked in case there were problems, but fails to mention that indeed there were problems and some of the boxes were actually missing and were never found!


 


-Why did the Carter Center fail to follow the agreement with the opposition that the random number generator supplied would be that of the center and instead, the one from the CNE was used? Moreover, all sorts of technical detail is given, but no mention I made of how the seed was chosen. Indeed, it does mention it was the same generator used on Sunday, if it had the same seed; the sequence was exactly the same! Bruni in the comments section has been wondering about this point from day one and she was right to worry!


 


-The report says that ballot boxes were “in several garrisons” while the CNE assured everyone that they were in the Fuerte Tiuna military facility. The report also talks about two states where the material was still “disperse” three days after the vote!


 


-The other report by the Carter Center is the final report on the recall vote. It has similar problems as the audit report. It does note that on Aug. 15th, “hot audit” 192 ballot boxes were supposed to be audited, but only 82 were. Moreover, it fails to say that opposition representatives were only present in 27 of them and in those, the Si vote won 63% to 37%, despite the fact that these came from seven states in which the No had won in five. Moreover, these showed no discrepancies.


 


-The report fails to note that while abstention was 37% in the electronic vote, it was practically zero in the remote areas where the vote was manual, exactly the opposite of what has happened historically and what happened in this election in similar areas where machines were deployed! Any of my Chavista readers can give me a coherent and plausible explanation for this not so small anomaly?


 


-The report mentions in passing the problem with the total number of Si votes coinciding from center to center. However, the Carter Center continues to consider the coincidences at the level of the “mesas” (tables) and not at the center level. There is a factor of five increase in coincidences when the problem is considered at the center level. No detail was provided as to what exactly the two “foreign statisticians” looked at in their studies to say that it was a mathematical probability for this to happen.


 


-The report does not even get right the level of abstention, the number they give (73% of the people voting) has nothing to do with any of the numbers reported by the CNE in any of its reports.


 


Very sloppy reports on the part of an institution that should provide international and professional class work in a process in which attention to detail and critical analysis is crucial to the accomplishment of their goals. As the saying goes: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” or in its new version: “With observers like these, who needs observers?”

The Carter Center: With observers like these, who needs observers?

August 27, 2004

Reading the audit report by the Carter Center is painful. Painful because it is sloppy, painful because it leaves a lot of material out or says things without explaining that what was done went either against the rules of the audit, an audit or the agreements made. Finally the technical aspects described are so poor and unconvincing that it makes you wonder who wrote it and if anyone approved it before releasing it. It makes you wonder if the reason that it is only available in Spanish is so that many will have no critical access to it.


Let’s look at some details:


 


-The report does not say that the boxes with the ballots were not under the observation of the Carter Center for over 65 hours, but goes in painstaking detail about how there were two observers from the OAS and the Center per state after that “grace” period and the like.


 


-The report fails to mention that the opposition requested, but was denied the opportunity to choose 50 ballot boxes to audit. This is without doubt the biggest mystery in the whole process, why didn’t the CNE allow the opposition to pick some voting centers, forcing a random sample after denying any possibility of the random sample during the petition drive to have the recall? CNE Director said in that case, he did not trust a sample and the issue was too important. Talk about a double standard, or is it a single one?


 


-The report mentions that 50 extra boxes were picked in case there were problems, but fails to mention that indeed there were problems and some of the boxes were actually missing and were never found!


 


-Why did the Carter Center fail to follow the agreement with the opposition that the random number generator supplied would be that of the center and instead, the one from the CNE was used? Moreover, all sorts of technical detail is given, but no mention I made of how the seed was chosen. Indeed, it does mention it was the same generator used on Sunday, if it had the same seed; the sequence was exactly the same! Bruni in the comments section has been wondering about this point from day one and she was right to worry!


 


-The report says that ballot boxes were “in several garrisons” while the CNE assured everyone that they were in the Fuerte Tiuna military facility. The report also talks about two states where the material was still “disperse” three days after the vote!


 


-The other report by the Carter Center is the final report on the recall vote. It has similar problems as the audit report. It does note that on Aug. 15th, “hot audit” 192 ballot boxes were supposed to be audited, but only 82 were. Moreover, it fails to say that opposition representatives were only present in 27 of them and in those, the Si vote won 63% to 37%, despite the fact that these came from seven states in which the No had won in five. Moreover, these showed no discrepancies.


 


-The report fails to note that while abstention was 37% in the electronic vote, it was practically zero in the remote areas where the vote was manual, exactly the opposite of what has happened historically and what happened in this election in similar areas where machines were deployed! Any of my Chavista readers can give me a coherent and plausible explanation for this not so small anomaly?


 


-The report mentions in passing the problem with the total number of Si votes coinciding from center to center. However, the Carter Center continues to consider the coincidences at the level of the “mesas” (tables) and not at the center level. There is a factor of five increase in coincidences when the problem is considered at the center level. No detail was provided as to what exactly the two “foreign statisticians” looked at in their studies to say that it was a mathematical probability for this to happen.


 


-The report does not even get right the level of abstention, the number they give (73% of the people voting) has nothing to do with any of the numbers reported by the CNE in any of its reports.


 


Very sloppy reports on the part of an institution that should provide international and professional class work in a process in which attention to detail and critical analysis is crucial to the accomplishment of their goals. As the saying goes: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” or in its new version: “With observers like these, who needs observers?”

Hugo, Jimmy and Colin, WSJ Editorial

August 27, 2004

The Wall Street Journal asks some good questions using the same Enron analogy I used to describe the CNE audit:


Hugo, Jimmy and Colin, WSJ Editorial


 



August 26, 2004; Page A12


 


Last week’s recall victory by Venezuelan strongman President Hugo Chavez is likely to create long-term trouble for American interests in the Western Hemisphere. So it’s all the more disconcerting to hear the U.S. State Department anoint what was anything but a fair and transparent election.


 


On Monday, a Foggy Bottom spokesman declared that, “In order to address those charges of election fraud, an audit was conducted. The audit found that — did not find any basis to call into doubt the results of the elections.”


 


As “audits” go, however, this was akin to Arthur Andersen scrubbing Enron. The sample for the audit was selected by the National Electoral Council (CNE), which is controlled by Mr. Chavez, and was too small to be considered statistically reliable.


 


On referendum day, there was no open audit at the polling stations to reconcile the paper ballots to the electronic voting machines, as the opposition requested, because Mr. Chavez would not allow it. There was also no closed-door audit with all of the National Electoral


 


Council members present because the Chavez-controlled Council did not allow it. There was no inspection of the electronic voting machines immediately after the vote because Mr. Chavez would not allow it. And there was no impartial impounding of the election data — paper or digital — because … you get the idea.


 


We also know that Mr. Chavez sharply limited the number of international observers allowed into the country, something that hasn’t been done (outside of Cuba) in Latin America since Manual Noriega used it as a way to steal elections in Panama in 1989. The European Union refused to send observers because Mr. Chavez so severely limited the size of the team and its ability to move about.


 


That didn’t stop Jimmy Carter from bringing an inspection team — sharply reduced in size per Mr. Chavez’s demands — and the former U.S. President has played a crucial role in blessing the results, as he wrote in a letter to us on Tuesday. So it’s worth noting the reasons that Mr. Carter cites for his conclusions, as he recorded in his trip report on his Web site.


 


“We heard a litany of catastrophic predictions about cheating, intimidation, and actual violence planned by the government for election day,” Mr. Carter writes. Yet he saw no cause for concern because “We reported on the assurances we had received from CNE and the military, which answered most of their concerns.” He finally signed off on the outcome after he said he was invited “to witness the disclosure of the first electronic tabulation.” Mr. Carter’s logic seems to be that he could judge the election to be fair more or less because Mr. Chavez’s military and election council told him it was fair.


 


Mr. Carter never did a full audit of the vote, which differed dramatically from exit polling and featured hundreds of polling places with voting machines tallying the same number of yes votes — a phenomenon that independent statisticians find highly improbable. Nevertheless, after he “confirm[ed] the legitimacy of the CNE returns,” Mr. Carter also discloses on his Web site, he “called Secretary of State Colin Powell to report our authentication of results, and he promised to issue a statement from Washington endorsing our findings.” Which the State Department proceeded to do.


 


Our liberal friends keep lecturing us to accept the Chavez result, since anti-American politicians do sometimes win free elections. But this recall was hardly as transparent as, say, Germany‘s election of Gerhard Schroder in 2002. Mr. Chavez has a record of abusing the rule of law to gather ever-greater political control. He has allied himself with Mr. Castro and is promoting instability throughout the region. A Bush Administration that is fighting for free elections in Iraq ought to have higher democratic standards here in the Western Hemisphere.

Why the EU Skipped the Chavez Vote by Mary Anastasia O’Grady

August 27, 2004

Somebody “gets it”, Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the Wall Street Journal:


Why the EU Skipped the Chavez Vote


By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY
August 27, 2004; Page A13


Given how Jimmy Carter’s presidency turned out, it is not surprising that he is desperate to salvage his legacy as an international election observer.


That effort took a turn for the worse this week when verifiable reports emerged conflicting directly with Mr. Carter’s rendition of what happened in the Aug. 15 Venezuelan recall referendum. The Carter claims of omniscient oversight aside, testimony from reliable independent sources shows that the process did not meet any impartial standards of fairness.


To start with, observer rules were absurd, so much so that although the European Union wanted to play an observer role, it graciously declined in the interest of honesty. “Unfortunately, it has not been possible to secure with the Venezuelan electoral authorities the conditions to carry out an observation in line with the Union‘s standard methodology,” the European Commission declared.


Restraints included the fact that observers were not to be allowed to independently audit the entire vote, as they had demanded in hotly contested battles like Peru’s, when Alberto Fujimori ran for a third time in 2000; and in Chile’s 1988 plebiscite restoring democracy. Moreover, both the number of observers and their movement was to be restricted.


Such conditions were clear impediments to observers yet implausibly, Mr. Carter claimed in a letter to the Journal this week that his center “observed the entire voting process without limitation or restraint.” Mr. Carter’s rosy review of the behavior of President Hugo Chávez contrasts sharply with that of other observers.


Two observers working on behalf of the Organization of American States, writing in Canada‘s Globe and Mail, on Tuesday tried to answer the question of whether the outcome reflects the will of the people. “Yes,” write Ken Frankel and John Graham, “if the focus is on the election-day process. International observers have not uncovered evidence of significant manipulation or voter harassment during voting day or the post-election audits.” But “No,” they say, “if the focus includes Mr. Chávez’s pre-election maneuvers that tilted the table in his favor through control of the electoral apparatus and indirect intimidation.”


By now, the Chávez intimidation factor is legendary and Mr. Carter’s practice of ignoring it, as he did in his letter to the Journal, is baffling. Messrs. Frankel and Graham do not ignore it: “Thousands of citizens who had signed the petition that triggered the referendum lost jobs, pensions or suffered harassment. Many feared that their choice would be known to the government, and the ubiquitous presence of machine-gun-toting soldiers inside and outside the polling stations reinforced this concern.”


Venezuela‘s most important non-governmental election watchdog, Súmate, also strongly contradicts many of Mr. Carter’s claims. For example, Mr. Carter submits that “international machines were tested in advance” and that “extra care was taken to ensure secrecy and accuracy.” But Súmate tells a far different story. It says that while the original recall rules called for manual voting, Mr. Chávez insisted on importing an electronic system and chose Smartmatic voting machines without a transparent bidding process. One ostensible reason for going with Smartmatic was that its machines also create paper ballots, which could be used to audit the vote. But as it turned out, an impartial audit of those ballots was not allowed.


Súmate’s list of grievances does not stop there, and a number of its claims are irrefutable. There was, it says, a “severe limitation to participation in the auditing required by any automated voting system: Auditing the software used by the machines was never permitted, the source code was never released, and finally, access was never allowed into the Totalization Room of CNE [National Electoral Council].”


To support his case, Mr. Carter keeps repeating in the press that Súmate had the same “quick count” as he did. This only creates confusion because “quick count” totals are merely the sum of totals coming from Chávez-controlled voting software.


The only way to check the accuracy of the government’s claim of “victory” was to count ballots. But as Súmate describes in clear detail, Mr. Chávez blocked that process: “When the authorities decided against counting the ballots, the CNE agreed to a very limited audit with the other actors of the process, to count the ballots of only 1% of the ballot boxes, in other words, 192 ballot boxes. Only 76 of the 192 ballot boxes were audited, concentrated in 20 of the 336 municipalities around the country. Promoters of ‘SI’ [Chávez's opposition] were present at only 27 of these audits while international observers were present at only 10 tables. Inexplicably, this did not represent a cause for concern or alarm to the international observers who endorsed the partial results issued by the CNE without that fundamental piece of information.”


Súmate says that contrary to Mr. Carter’s claims, it never agreed to a second audit because, “Once again, inexplicably, the international observers designed an audit together with the CNE without taking into account the petitions of the group requesting the audit, transgressing the universal standard in electoral processes.”


Finally Súmate reminds us of Mr. Chávez’s painstaking review of petition signatures calling for the recall vote, “an exhaustive verification” in which “every signature was checked not by one, but by three different committees of the CNE. Now, this same CNE, inexplicably, prevents a count for transparency’s sake of the ballots that represent definitive proof of the elector’s will.” Mr. Carter’s complicity in the prevention of a reliable vote count was a betrayal of Venezuelan democracy.

On Mathematical Studies of the recall vote part II: Exit Polls

August 26, 2004

The present study was performed by two Venezuelans who are Professors in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bruno Sanso and Raquel Prado. You can find their full study here in postscript format or here in acrobat (Thanks Alfredo and Ed). I will try to summarize it as well as I can, hopefully the authors will read what I write and correct any imprecisions in my summary, which follows what they wrote.


What they have done is to look at the exit polls of Sumate and Primero Justicia and compare them to the actual results for the vote at the same voting centers where the exit polls were made. They had 527 exit polls with 36,629 interviews, 269 from Sumate and 258 from Primero Justicia. They eliminated the exit polls with less than 20 people and worked in the end with 475 centers after excluding the also those centers in which the count was manual, because the CNE data was incomplete.


 


The first figure below shows the histogram of Si voters according to the CNE in the top panel and in the bottom panel the same histogram for the Si votes according to the exit poll data:


 


 


 



                     Top Figure: Proportion according to the results of the CNE (Actas)


 



 


                   Bottom Figure: Proportions according to the exit polls


 


Note the difference between the two not only in where the main frequency is, but they seems to have different symmetries and the detail f the distributions are different.


 


To study this further, they did the following study: Suppose that the sample obtained in a single voting center corresponds to a population of binary experiments. The probability of obtaining a SI is taken to be the same as the proportion calculated from the final results (Actas) of each center according to the CNE. They then calculate the probability that under such a probabilistic model, they could observe the same number of SI votes that were obtained in the exit poll.


 


This result is shown in the next figure.  As can be seen, the range is of probabilities is between zero and 0.23 with roughly 40% of them ranging between zero and 0.02. This implies that the probability of obtaining the results of the exit polls based on the results of the CNE is extremely low.



 


To check these discrepancies further, the authors looked instead at each voting center. For each center the simulated 5,000 runs of the same size as that obtained in the exit poll. They then calculated the proportions of Si in each sample and took the values that were above 2.5% and 97.5% respectively. In this way they obtain the interval in which 95% of their simulations. They conclude that there are significant differences between the results for the CNE and the exit polls for each specific center  if the proportion obtained in the exit poll is not contained in that interval.


 


From the above, they calculate the results state by state.  The bleu points are the proportions of the exit polls that fall outside the interval. The black points fall within the interval. Below I show only the results for the Capital District and Zulia state, the rest of the states are in the presentation.


 


                       Capital 55% discrepancies                                           Zulia 66% discrepancies


 


 


 


 


 


This is not a global analysis; it is center by center analysis so that the design of the sample for the exit poll is not relevant.


 


The discrepancies between the estimated Si votes in exit polls and those from the results are quite significant in at leas 60% of the centers. This difference is present in ALL states. (Also in the centers with manual votes not included in the results). The differences can not be explained by randomness. The only possible conclusion is that either the exit polls had a bias towards the SI or the CNE final results had a biased in favor of the NO


 


Someone could argue that the difference could be due to people not answering. In a center with a sample of 60 voters with a proportion of Si to NO of 60/40, the number of people not answering required to turn the results around completely would have to be 50 people ALL IN FAVOR OF THE NO. This would have had to occur in many centers simultaneously.


 


Another possibility is that since the exit polls were only carried out until 4PM a massive number of people would have voted NO after that time. In a center with 2,000 voters in which 600 had voted SI by 4 PM and 400 NO by 4 PM, this would require that of say 1,000 voters after 4 PM only 20% voted for the SI and 80% for the NO. This would have had to happen all over the country.

On Mathematical Studies of the recall vote part II: Exit Polls

August 26, 2004

The present study was performed by two Venezuelans who are Professors in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bruno Sanso and Raquel Prado. You can find their full study here in postscript format or here in acrobat (Thanks Alfredo and Ed). I will try to summarize it as well as I can, hopefully the authors will read what I write and correct any imprecisions in my summary, which follows what they wrote.


What they have done is to look at the exit polls of Sumate and Primero Justicia and compare them to the actual results for the vote at the same voting centers where the exit polls were made. They had 527 exit polls with 36,629 interviews, 269 from Sumate and 258 from Primero Justicia. They eliminated the exit polls with less than 20 people and worked in the end with 475 centers after excluding the also those centers in which the count was manual, because the CNE data was incomplete.


 


The first figure below shows the histogram of Si voters according to the CNE in the top panel and in the bottom panel the same histogram for the Si votes according to the exit poll data:


 


 


 



                     Top Figure: Proportion according to the results of the CNE (Actas)


 



 


                   Bottom Figure: Proportions according to the exit polls


 


Note the difference between the two not only in where the main frequency is, but they seems to have different symmetries and the detail f the distributions are different.


 


To study this further, they did the following study: Suppose that the sample obtained in a single voting center corresponds to a population of binary experiments. The probability of obtaining a SI is taken to be the same as the proportion calculated from the final results (Actas) of each center according to the CNE. They then calculate the probability that under such a probabilistic model, they could observe the same number of SI votes that were obtained in the exit poll.


 


This result is shown in the next figure.  As can be seen, the range is of probabilities is between zero and 0.23 with roughly 40% of them ranging between zero and 0.02. This implies that the probability of obtaining the results of the exit polls based on the results of the CNE is extremely low.



 


To check these discrepancies further, the authors looked instead at each voting center. For each center the simulated 5,000 runs of the same size as that obtained in the exit poll. They then calculated the proportions of Si in each sample and took the values that were above 2.5% and 97.5% respectively. In this way they obtain the interval in which 95% of their simulations. They conclude that there are significant differences between the results for the CNE and the exit polls for each specific center  if the proportion obtained in the exit poll is not contained in that interval.


 


From the above, they calculate the results state by state.  The bleu points are the proportions of the exit polls that fall outside the interval. The black points fall within the interval. Below I show only the results for the Capital District and Zulia state, the rest of the states are in the presentation.


 


                       Capital 55% discrepancies                                           Zulia 66% discrepancies


 


 


 


 


 


This is not a global analysis; it is center by center analysis so that the design of the sample for the exit poll is not relevant.


 


The discrepancies between the estimated Si votes in exit polls and those from the results are quite significant in at leas 60% of the centers. This difference is present in ALL states. (Also in the centers with manual votes not included in the results). The differences can not be explained by randomness. The only possible conclusion is that either the exit polls had a bias towards the SI or the CNE final results had a biased in favor of the NO


 


Someone could argue that the difference could be due to people not answering. In a center with a sample of 60 voters with a proportion of Si to NO of 60/40, the number of people not answering required to turn the results around completely would have to be 50 people ALL IN FAVOR OF THE NO. This would have had to occur in many centers simultaneously.


 


Another possibility is that since the exit polls were only carried out until 4PM a massive number of people would have voted NO after that time. In a center with 2,000 voters in which 600 had voted SI by 4 PM and 400 NO by 4 PM, this would require that of say 1,000 voters after 4 PM only 20% voted for the SI and 80% for the NO. This would have had to happen all over the country.

On Mathematical Studies of the recall vote part II: Exit Polls

August 26, 2004

The present study was performed by two Venezuelans who are Professors in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bruno Sanso and Raquel Prado. You can find their full study here in postscript format or here in acrobat (Thanks Alfredo and Ed). I will try to summarize it as well as I can, hopefully the authors will read what I write and correct any imprecisions in my summary, which follows what they wrote.


What they have done is to look at the exit polls of Sumate and Primero Justicia and compare them to the actual results for the vote at the same voting centers where the exit polls were made. They had 527 exit polls with 36,629 interviews, 269 from Sumate and 258 from Primero Justicia. They eliminated the exit polls with less than 20 people and worked in the end with 475 centers after excluding the also those centers in which the count was manual, because the CNE data was incomplete.


 


The first figure below shows the histogram of Si voters according to the CNE in the top panel and in the bottom panel the same histogram for the Si votes according to the exit poll data:


 


 


 



                     Top Figure: Proportion according to the results of the CNE (Actas)


 



 


                   Bottom Figure: Proportions according to the exit polls


 


Note the difference between the two not only in where the main frequency is, but they seems to have different symmetries and the detail f the distributions are different.


 


To study this further, they did the following study: Suppose that the sample obtained in a single voting center corresponds to a population of binary experiments. The probability of obtaining a SI is taken to be the same as the proportion calculated from the final results (Actas) of each center according to the CNE. They then calculate the probability that under such a probabilistic model, they could observe the same number of SI votes that were obtained in the exit poll.


 


This result is shown in the next figure.  As can be seen, the range is of probabilities is between zero and 0.23 with roughly 40% of them ranging between zero and 0.02. This implies that the probability of obtaining the results of the exit polls based on the results of the CNE is extremely low.



 


To check these discrepancies further, the authors looked instead at each voting center. For each center the simulated 5,000 runs of the same size as that obtained in the exit poll. They then calculated the proportions of Si in each sample and took the values that were above 2.5% and 97.5% respectively. In this way they obtain the interval in which 95% of their simulations. They conclude that there are significant differences between the results for the CNE and the exit polls for each specific center  if the proportion obtained in the exit poll is not contained in that interval.


 


From the above, they calculate the results state by state.  The bleu points are the proportions of the exit polls that fall outside the interval. The black points fall within the interval. Below I show only the results for the Capital District and Zulia state, the rest of the states are in the presentation.


 


                       Capital 55% discrepancies                                           Zulia 66% discrepancies


 


 


 


 


 


This is not a global analysis; it is center by center analysis so that the design of the sample for the exit poll is not relevant.


 


The discrepancies between the estimated Si votes in exit polls and those from the results are quite significant in at leas 60% of the centers. This difference is present in ALL states. (Also in the centers with manual votes not included in the results). The differences can not be explained by randomness. The only possible conclusion is that either the exit polls had a bias towards the SI or the CNE final results had a biased in favor of the NO


 


Someone could argue that the difference could be due to people not answering. In a center with a sample of 60 voters with a proportion of Si to NO of 60/40, the number of people not answering required to turn the results around completely would have to be 50 people ALL IN FAVOR OF THE NO. This would have had to occur in many centers simultaneously.


 


Another possibility is that since the exit polls were only carried out until 4PM a massive number of people would have voted NO after that time. In a center with 2,000 voters in which 600 had voted SI by 4 PM and 400 NO by 4 PM, this would require that of say 1,000 voters after 4 PM only 20% voted for the SI and 80% for the NO. This would have had to happen all over the country.

Gaviria and the OAS on Venezuela

August 25, 2004

While leaving a door open for the charges of fraud OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria expressed this wholesale condemnation of the board of the CNE:


“it ended up deciding on the basis of party lines all of the time and that is something that damages somewhat in the face of public opinion, it was always the same three people that took the same position and they represented the party that backed the Government and that may the work difficult and took weight off what they were deciding”


 


Interesting words for a diplomat, not very diplomatic in the end but the truth. That is how mot of our democracy has worked in Venezuela in the last five years.  Little is discussed; everything that matters and is important is in the end approved by the Chavista majority.


 


Curiously, the resolution (wich needs a consensus) on the recall vote has not been approved and may never be approved and may be replaced by a declaration.  (needs a majority)

US News on Exit Polls

August 25, 2004

People are quick to dismiss the importance or significance of Exit Polls. Michael Barone wrote this article yesterday in US News and world Report about exit polls and the results of the recall vote. Exit Polls are statistical animals, as such, they have statistical properties that can be measured and tested. What the exit polls are saying about the Aug. 15th. results is that something is very inconsistent somewhere and they can’t be dismissed easily. Hope to post the results soon.

US News on Exit Polls

August 25, 2004

People are quick to dismiss the importance or significance of Exit Polls. Michael Barone wrote this article yesterday in US News and world Report about exit polls and the results of the recall vote. Exit Polls are statistical animals, as such, they have statistical properties that can be measured and tested. What the exit polls are saying about the Aug. 15th. results is that something is very inconsistent somewhere and they can’t be dismissed easily. Hope to post the results soon.

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