The Consejo Nacional Electoral has just approved the procedure for citizens whose signature is being question to ratify hat they signed. The vote was 3-0 with the two pro-opposition Directors not present. There will be 1,000 centers (one thitd of those used to gather the signatures), open during five days from 8 AM to 6 PM. The CNE will issue booklets (!!) with seven million national ID numbers. The list will say whether somebody’s signature is valid, rejected or under observation. Those rejected stand rejected. Those whose sigantures is under observation will have to go to a specific center to ratify they signed.
From other sources I understand that there will be a CNE book with a computer printout with the names and national ID numbers of thos whose signatures are under observation. The person will have to present their national ID number, sign and stamp their fingerprint. There will be no verification of the fingerprints. There is no word about the rules, how the CNE will guarantee access to the opposition and the pro-Chavez forces to the data, the centers. No mention either about international observers, I am sure they will play a role. The problem now is what if some part of this process is also questioned later? How do they guarantee that it will not be?
I think the opposition has to participate and massively ask their supporters to go and ratify. But is it workable in such a short time? How can the poor and the old that were visited ratify their signatures? Will the time lost be subtracted from the timetable towards a recall vote if one ever takes place? We will know later tonight, how many verified signatures the opposition has, I hear the number is 1.925 million good ones.
Note added: From what I understood, if a signature was rejected you have no appeal. I had undeerstood earlier that that was precisley why this period was planned originally. Jorge Rodriguez in making his announcement mentioned some numbers which to me are not that meaningful. Basically, he is saying the planas have a higher percentage, in a sample, of illegible fingerprints, but the differenc is 3% (from 33% to 36-37% or something like that). It seems irrelevant. He also says irregular ones doubles from 11% to 22%. It still says little to me. So far, there is no evidence of fraud. A CMT reporter is saying his sources tell him the opposition has 1.977 million signatures that are valid. If true, the ratification process should be quite easy.
Reportedly now, the ratification process would have live PC’s on site to register what the person signing is doing. How do you verify the correct input was entered? Rodriguez made some very unfair statemnets saying they could have been (tougher), as if it was a matter of benevolence and not the law and basic rights. Very sad.