VENEZUELA: DOES THE PERMANENT ELECTORAL REGISTER (REP) CONTAIN TRUE AND PRECISE INFORMATION?
Report from Sumate.org
1. The Government of President Chávez-Frías, together with the National Electoral Council (CNE), has undertaken a Special Identification Plan known as 'Mision Identidad'. The Basic Law on Suffrage and Political Participation (LOSPP) clearly indicates that those officials participating in this Special Plan who are simultaneously overseeing enrollment into the Electoral Register (RE) are 'auxiliary agents' and that enrollment through these agents must terminate six months before the electoral process (Article 92). Therefore, all registrations in the electoral rolls performed after February 7, 2005 by way of these 'auxiliary agents' should be rejected.
2. The issuance of National Identity Cards has proceeded in conjunction with a process of nationalization of foreigners of a massive scope and over which there is an absolute lack of adequate control. There have been cases of foreigners, such Rodrigo Granda, el de Gentil Galvis-Patiño, Rubén González alias El Chiguiro or El Comandante , who, having been granted Venezuelan identity documents, have voted.
3. The nationalization of foreign-born individuals has been performed in the context of huge public concentrations of a political and electoral nature, in the course of which the Government of President Chávez-Frías distributes T-shirts with the colors and symbols of the government party as political slogans.
4. President Chávez has publicly acknowledged the political and electoral nature of these identification processes . On November 12, 2004 , in a speech at the Military Academy, addressing Ministers, Members of the National Assembly, Governors, Mayors and other supporters of his Government, he stated in relation to this issue :
5 . According to the Law on Suffrage and Political Participation (LOSSP), the Electoral Register is permanent. It must close only in the case of elections and for the preparation of electoral rolls 60 days before such elections are to be held. For last October's elections, this legal provision was not respected. The Electoral Register remained open for a longer period and no indication was given as to when it would close.
6 . Normally, of electors included in the Electoral Register has grown around 11 % every five year, that is to say between elections. Nevertheless, between July 10 and 28, 2004, according to official numbers by the National Electoral Council, the number of electors went from 12.518.812 to 14.037.900, an increase of 12,9 % in only an 18 day period, and of nearly 20 % in comparison to the last presidential election held in 2000.
7. In violation of the Law on Suffrage and Political Participation, the National Electoral Council proceeded to unilaterally move electors from one electoral circumscription to another. Such a change, or migration, was performed without the elector's consent (Art. 69 of the LOSSP) In the case of presidential elections or of consultative or presidential recall referenda, such migrations may not be of significance, but in the case of local or regional elections, such the August 2005 local elections and the coming December 2005 congressional elections, they are of critical significance. In such cases, a difference of only a few hundred votes may change the result of an election.
8. Another violation to the law undertaken by the National Electoral Council has to do with modifications to the electoral circumscriptions. SUMATE has estimated that changes introduced to electoral circumscriptions in more than 19 states and more than 80 municipalities involve, based on population data projections by the National Statistics Institute INE), more than 30 % of the estimated population. Under no circumstances can such alterations be considered 'minimal', as recently indicated by the President of the National Electoral Council, Jorge Rodríguez. They are also illegal in as far as they are not based on projections approved by the National Assembly nor performed within the time frame required by Article 6 of the Law on Suffrage and Political Participation.