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CNE to begin releasing results 2 or 3 hours after voting concludes

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has estimated that official results, for the referendum for the constitutional amendment to be held on February 15th, will begin to be released two or three hours after the closing of the final voting station when the winner is certain.

That is what CNE Director Sandra Oblitas said on Thursday on ‘Al Momento’, a program broadcast by Venezolana de Telvisión.

She reminded viewers that voting stations are scheduled to officially close at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday or later, should there still be voters in line.

Director Oblitas indicated that electoral law can sanction any political organization or medial outlet that makes public projections of the results before they are announced by the CNE.  “We will undoubtedly apply these sanctions rigorously, should it be necessary,” she said.

Regarding election witness, who represent the Yes and No votes, Oblitas said the No vote requested increasing the 48 national witnesses, adding one additional witness for fingerprinting stations in the polls where these machines authenticate voters.

She said that a 200 meter security perimeter has been established for voting centers.

“En each electoral process the functions of Plan República have been explained and made clear.  Audits, which are over 54%, are also clearly established,” she noted.

Should a voter commit an electoral crime, such as damaging a voting machine, intentionally delaying the vote, or taking or destroying the voter receipt, among others, the Attorney General of the Republic and the Public Defender are at the service of the CNE to enforce the law and prevent or punish this type of crime.

Oblitas called upon the population to maintain order on Sunday, as has occurred during other electoral processes.  “We have demonstrated, strongly, the democratic nature of the Venezuelan people, the willingness to settle differences via voting, so we cannot do anything against this very important mechanism we use to determine our future.  There is no place for bad behavior,” Oblitas said.

She also noted that political campaigning or propaganda activities are not allowed in voting centers on Sunday.   Photographing the act of voting is also disallowed so as to maintain the constitutional principal of a secret ballot.

Upon being asked about the possibility of an electrical failure that may affect the February 15th process, Oblitas explained that the CNE relies on auxiliary electrical generators and that voting machines are able to run on auxiliary batteries.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias (ABN), Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / February 13, 2009

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