Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I often think the universe takes a special interest in making me the butt of its practical jokes. Then I realize no, it does it to everyone -- I'm just one of the few who notice:

The recall referendum against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will be held on Aug. 15, an elections official announced Tuesday, and votes will be tallied using the controversial, untried electronic voting machines supplied by the SBC consortium, in which the government has a financial stake.


One of the two, Ezequiel Zamora, described as "extremely grave" the council's 3-2 decision not to carry out any parallel count of the voting slips produced by the touch-screen machines. The lack of such a procedure, Zamora said, would cast "serious doubt" on the results, and he called on the three pro-government members of the board to reconsider their decision.

Congressman Nelson Rampersad, speaking on behalf of the opposition Democratic Coordinator alliance, pointed out that, "Smartmatic itself says the process is auditable... What are they trying to hide?" he asked, referring to the three board members who voted for the resolution. Smartmatic is the Florida-based company supplying the Italian-made electronic voting machines.

Just so we're on the same page here: the Venezuelan opposition to Chavez is bitching because the touch-screen voting machines, supplied by a Florida company, produce an auditable paper trail which will not be automatically counted.

Touch-screen machines with an auditable paper trail. What a novel concept. Too bad we can't get something like that here...

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