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Venezuela's Electoral Registry official at 13.89 million...

By Miguel Octavio

...Down a million or up a million? After last Saturday’s report that the Electoral Registry had reached 15 million voters, the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) approved today the final registry and it only reaches 13.89 million voters. The difference? Nobody has yet explained it. Last Saturday’s numbers were supposed to be the CNE numbers state by state as given to local newspaper El Universal. While the opposition never acknowledged the higher number, Chavez’ “Comando Maisanta” that is running his campaign asked that the registry be revised and cleaned up last Friday and the Head of the CNE himself had expressed his concerned that it would be difficult to handle the new unofficial number of voters. But after clean up, the registry went up by only 1.3 million voters. So you go figure, it is either up 1.3 million or down one million from the earlier report.

The approval of the registry was not without controversy as the non-Chavez members of the CNE said they voted against it because they could not trust the numbers. One of them, Sobella Mejias, said that she had asked for updates of the number of registered voters every month, and until the meeting began, she did not receive the update. She also added that the total number of voters that registered abroad had actually gone down in the last two and half months which sounds very peculiar. Of course, it is peculiar because in the last election, Venezuelans abroad voted 70.32% of the votes against Hugo Chavez, who only received 25.91% of the votes cast at the country’s embassies all over the world.

In the end, the CNE will likely approve only 304 new electoral poll booths in the centers that were already planned. There will be 115 centers abroad. The new number implies that if we assume 43% abstention, there will be 7.9 million votes cast, thus if the opposition obtained a simple majority it would obtain the minimum number of votes required of 3.75 million votes.

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