Despite a high level of election transparency, one that Jimmy Carter called “the best in the world”, the US and its allies have accused Venezuela of election fraud. Caleb Maupin breaks down how Venezuela’s electoral system really works.
by Caleb T. Maupin
Part 3 - Accusations of Fraud
Despite the stringent safeguards in place to protect Venezuela’s election integrity, international media based in Western countries have widely claimed the election was fraudulent. Those claiming that the results are illegitimate have cited prior statements from SmartMatic, a corporation based in London that manufactured Venezuela’s voting machines. An official statement from SmartMatic claimed the 2017 Constitutional Referendum vote showed “tamper evident.” Statements from SmartMatic have been vague about how exactly the results were illegitimate or what malpractice took place.
Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Elections Center (CNE), says the claims from SmartMatic and its Chief Executive Antonio Mugica are simply opinion. He points out that Mugica and SmartMatic operate from London, and had a very small role in the actual election process, despite manufacturing the hardware.
CNE also asked why SmartMatic has not approached Venezuela about how to correct alleged problems with its voting system, and why it did not alert officials of potential fraud prior to the election. Since 2017, SmartMatic no longer provides services to the Venezuelan government and has not provided any insight into the 2018 presidential election.
Media from Venezuela has pointed out that Mark Malloch Brown, Chairman of SmartMatic, has ties to various international bodies that have called for regime change in Venezuela. Brown, who holds the British title of “Lord,” is Chairman of the International Crisis Group, an organization that has called for “transition” in Venezuela. Brown also served as Vice President of a Hedge Fund called Quantum Fund, which is directly tied to activist billionaire and regime-change advocate George Soros. Soros has also served on the board of Brown’s International Crisis Group.
It is also being widely reported that the Venezuelan government offered material incentives, such as refilling of the government ration card, for people to participate in the election. Reports further claim that government employees were required to vote.
It is true that many incentives and rewards were given to Venezuelans in order to participate in the May 20 vote. However, many of these reports deceptively hint that these incentives or requirements specified how participants voted, which is not the case. The government does not record how individual citizens vote. Incentives were provided for participation in the face of calls to boycott the vote from opposition forces. The National Elections Center of Venezuela created an “Australian ballot,” which is completely private. Citizens were not rewarded or penalized based on how they voted, and no record is kept indicating how individuals chose to vote.