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National Electoral Council to To Update Voter's Fingerprints Ahead of Elections

Beginning on Friday, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) will install 3,000 booths throughout the country so that registered voters can update their fingerprints for the coming presidential elections on October 7.

The process, which will take place from June 22 to July 22, is aimed at improving the Integrated Authentication System, a technology used at voting machines in Venezuela which identifies voters through fingerprinting to prevent double voting and identity theft.

To use this technology, the CNE must have the fingerprints of the more than 19.1 million registered voters. CNE rector Sandra Oblitas said in an interview that the Venezuelan identification and migration agency, SAIME, has sent fingerprints for 19 million citizens over 18 years of age.

However, many of those fingerprints are of poor quality, as they were taken over 20 years ago and are part of old registries. For this reason, the CNE is launching an initiative encouraging voters to update and digitalize their fingerprints with high-quality scans for the Integrated Authentication System.

“It’s an open initiative aimed at calling on all Venezuelans to update their fingerprints,” Oblitas said. “The 3,000 booths will be placed in high-traffic areas for one month, including at markets, metro stations, main squares and in all the country’s districts.”

Oblitas said that the method is very simple: “Right and left thumbs and index fingers will be scanned so we can have a solid and quality database.”

People with disabilities in their upper extremities will be able to inform the operators of their condition so that the CNE can take this into account before the elections.

Ensuring the Right to Vote

All citizens will have the right to vote whether or not they update their fingerprints, according to Oblitas, who dismissed campaigns attempting to confuse voters and “question the unshakable will of the electoral branch.”

Venezuela has “an electoral system that is an example to the world. It’s a system that has no possibility to be violated, a system that is audited, where all political actors participate, and the will and expression of all Venezuelans is guaranteed,” she said.

AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / June 19, 2012

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