Sunday, August 15, 2004

Whichever side of the conflict you're on, you have to be pleased both with the voter turnout in the Venezuelan recall referendum, and the way it's been handled:

Venezuelans voted in huge numbers on Sunday in a historic referendum on whether to recall left-wing President Hugo Chavez and electoral authorities prolonged voting well into the night.

In an unprecedented turnout, droves of eager voters besieged ballot centers across the world's No. 5 oil exporter and long lines persisted into the evening.

"We have decided to extend the voting period until 12 midnight," senior National Electoral Council official Jorge Rodriguez said.

The latest prolongation followed a previous four-hour extension to cope with the throngs who flooded polling centers, some of them waiting patiently most of the day in the hot sun.

Imagine it. No exit polls -- of any kind -- to taint the process for people who haven't voted yet. Polls left open as long as possible to allow everyone a chance to vote. How... democratic.

I hate to make the obvious joke, but maybe we should bring some Venezuelan electoral officials up for November. I'm sure President Carter can make the arrangements.

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