So I went this morning to take pictures of voting centers and the best I could come up with was a lousy picture of my ink-stained finger. Essentially, there are few lines for voting, I could not find a single center with a line outside to take a picture of. This election is different, a large fraction of Caracas simply does not vote, so I could not take my usual tour of the more pro-Chavez Western part of Caracas, they choose no Governor, and instead had to go East, to Petare, where the lines seemed to be for shopping, rather than for voting.
And the few data points I have from around the country suggests that it is the same all over. In two very pro-Chavista parishes in a Southeastern state of Venezuela, where Chavez won in October by 38% and abstention was 20.3% and 17.2% respectively, abstention at 10 AM was simply huge. In one center, which has about 270 voters, not one person had voted after the polls had been opened almost an hour.
Once again, in elections without Chavez, even Chavistas don’t seem to care much. He is definitely the electoral phenomenon.
What this means is that we are in uncharted territory. Low abstention, like in October, was good for Chavismo. Abstention between 25% and 35%, favors the opposition, but above that level, where we seem to be at this point of the day, is no mans land. More likely even a poor Chavista machinery will be enough to win in many states, but this is likely not be uniform across the country. This may be good for the States where the opposition has Governors in danger of losing, like Carabobo and Nueva Esparta, but reduces the likelihood of a surprise by the opposition in States like Aragua and Anzoategui. Maybe we get an almost repeat of 2008.
I will update throughout the day, if there is something to upgrade about, I hope there is.