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National Electoral Council Works to Speed Up Voting Process

In preparations for the October 7 elections, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) is taking steps to lower the amount of time it takes to vote, which, according to trials carried out by political party representatives on Thursday, is still over one minute. The time will be reduced as tests of the system continue, said Carlos Quintero, the CNE’s director for information technology.

“We have done various trials and will continue to do them,” Quintero told journalists after a session with technicians from various political parties.

He said the CNE will benefit from changes made this year to the electronic ballot, which is now bigger and organized more clearly, so that voters can make their choices faster.

Tests have been in part due the incorporation of the Integrated Authentication System (SAI), a machine and electronic ballot that allow voters to be identified by fingerprinting, which prevents identity theft or repeat voting. It guarantees the principle of “one voter, one vote,” and means changes in the way voters flow through the polls.

As part of tests to measure the time it takes to vote, the CNE organized a simulated vote on April 28 with the participation of its staff.

The Electoral Board, an entity under the CNE that organizes the electoral processes, presented a report on the activity that was released by the newspaper Ultimas Noticias earlier this week. According to the report, if a voter cannot be identified by his or her fingerprint and needs to fill out paperwork, it will take 82.5 seconds to vote (compared to the 30 seconds it took to vote in the 2010 parliamentary elections).

The length of time it takes to vote will help the Electoral Board decide how to distribute voters among voting booths. The report states that each one can serve up to 600 voters.

Political Parties Confident

Enrique Márquez, spokesperson for the opposition party Comando Venezuela, said he’s sure the time it takes to vote will be reduced, and other political party representatives agreed.

“These times will be better, let’s remember that this is just a test. Some proceedings have already been reduced that will have an effect,” said Gilberto Moya of Patria Para Todos-Movimiento Maneiro.

José Bracho of Unidad Popular Venezolana said: “Times are guaranteed to be under one minute. This was a test in which we could select various options on the ballot, but in the presidential elections we will have make just one choice, and so, times will be lower.”

AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / May 18, 2012

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