Venezuela is one of the countries that are in possession of a modern and reliable technology platform to hold elections. The experience of international and national monitoring in the South American country goes back to the 2004 recall referendum.
Missions from the European Union, the Carter Center, and the Organization of American States have served as international monitors of national elections in Venezuela. The EU Electoral Observation Mission evaluated Venezuela’s automated voting system during the December 2006 presidential election. In their final report, they rated the system as efficient, safe, and auditable, with a technical team matching its advanced technological level. Nevertheless, they pointed out that many elderly people did not know how to manipulate a voting machine nor the electoral ballot, so they recommended the National Electoral Council a stronger effort.
The Carter Center also worked on the observation of Venezuela’s December 2006 presidential election. Their criticism on the final report pointed at the official advantage in the reelection of President Hugo Chávez during the electoral campaign.
Regarding Venezuela’s experience, it’s interesting to highlight the labor done by national observation organizations in the country. There are many that have adjusted their work methodology to process automation. One of these is Ojo Electoral (“Electoral Eye”), a group that designed its own work plan to assist the electoral registry, the automated voting system, audits and citizen oversight in the voting process, as well as the tidiness of the electoral act and its results.
Besides, since 2007, electoral observation is no longer used in Venezuela, having implemented the international guest system instead. This usually comprises representatives of the electoral powers from friendly countries and experts in the voting realm. In Venezuela’s case, electoral companions have been invited since May 15th this year for the upcoming October 7th presidential election.
Another aspect that is worth commenting is the importance of electoral observation in conflict zones. There is some bibliography on how a job of neutral monitoring can turn into peaceful mediation and contribute to conflict solving.