Finally signed!!

November 29, 2003

Finally got to sign, lines were shorter but the process was quite efficient. There were four tables processing in parallel. While I was on the line they gave me a practice copy of the form to make sure I would do it right and my signature could not be disqualified. (Little things like make sure the numbers in your national id numbers can not be confused with a different number). Then they took me to a house nearby to check the electoral registry to insure my data was exactly like what I was writing. Then back in line to sign. The lady that processed my signing had a plastic template to make sure I did not write outside the space provided for my signature and my fingerprint. (All of these could be reasons to disqualify my signature, thus the care). Finally, I was asked to wait so that if a mistake was made by anyone signing in the form after me, we could just throw it away and repeat it.

At the polling station where I signed, they processed 2,700 signatures yesterday and so far today they had completed 450 more. Since it is in a very anti-Chavez area, I can not use it for an estimate as typical. What I can do is say that at noon today there are still lines everywhere, even if shorter than yesterday. (In most places the lines are short, but you can see there are always people waiting). There are 2,700 centers total so the numbers seem quite easy. In fact, it took me less than 20 seconds to sign. Let’s assume there is only one table processing the signatures and two people sign per minute and absolutely nobody signs Sunday or Monday. Since the polling stations are opened eight hours a day, that would give an estimate of 960 signatures per day for two days or over five million total. We only need 2.4 million, but the opposition wants the number to be larger than which would be required to recall Chavez when the “real” vote takes place. Seems easy.

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