Venezuelans trust the automated voting system


In Venezuela, the automation of the voting system has experienced tremendous growth from 2004 until now, when 100% of the country’s voting machines are automated. Eight years after the implementation of devices equipped with touchscreen and printed vote receipts, trust in electronic voting has been going in crescendo. Proof of this is the fact that 64.7% of people consulted in a study carried out by the Datanálisis pollster in September 2012 said that they trust the voting machines provided by Smartmatic, a transnational company that provides  voting equipment to the National Electoral Council.

According to the poll, 69.5% of the people consider that the current automated voting system guarantees that each elector can vote only once, that is, that voting machines do not allow for multiple voting. Thus, they believe that the one voter, one vote principle prevails. This topic takes relevance when considering the implementation of the Integrated Authentication System for the October 7th presidential elections, which consists in a biometric authentication device for the activation of each elector’s voting session (last maturing stage of the automated voting systems).

Vote secrecy is another aspect consulted by Datanálisis. 65.3% of those surveyed sustain that voting machines guarantee vote secrecy. Part of the approval towards the automated system has been ratified thanks to audits and revisions done to the technological platform by the Venezuelan electoral body, along with groups of interest (political parties, technicians, supervising bodies). Observing the perception of citizens on these technical revisions, it becomes apparent that 45.1% of those surveyed are more inclined to trust grassroots auditing, which is the test that is done when comparing the results from the vote receipts with the minutes emitted by the voting machine, while 44.2% trust tests led by the National Electoral Council of Venezuela.

According to the survey performed in Venezuela’s main cities, 91.1% of those consulted believe the voting system is simple and accessible. Broken down, this percentage can be observed as follows: 55.6% of the interviewed citizens consider that the practice of e-voting is very easy, while 35.5% find it easy. Moreover, 73.5% of those interviewed believe that the equipment designed by Smartmatic is part of a “modern, cutting-edge system,” which confirms the consolidation of the automated platform in the nation.

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