Fraud, Lies and the Recall Vote

August 20, 2004

Somebody is lying. Somebody is definitely lying big time and I am not sure which side in this dispute over the fraud is not saying the truth. But the more that one side lies the more, they dig themselves deeper in a hole  from which it will be different to get out of.

This afternoon the Coordinadora Democrática (CD) finally met with OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria and representatives from the Carter Center. There were harsh words at the meeting. Harsh words at the Carter Center for making statements that are exactly the opposite of what Mr. Carter espoused during the Florida election controversy when George Bush edged Al Gore. Tough words on the Brazilian OAS team member who issued yesterday a report, without there being any new information on the possibility of fraud in last Sunday’s recall vote.


At the meeting, the CD presented their evidence for the fraud:


1-On the numerical coincidences in the voting machines, the CD presented Gaviria with 1879 cases in which the number of Si votes repeated in at least two machines. Reportedly, the CD handed Gaviria copies of each of the Actas for each of the machines where the cases were found. In the words of the CD, they did not want to provide a simple electronic file that may contain inaccuracies, thus they presented the specific cases.


They presented some types of cases that I have never seen before. I have discussed previously cases in which the number of Si votes at two or three machines in one mesa are identical. But I also saw:


-A school with two mesas, one with three machines, the other with two. FOUR of them have identical numbers of SI votes.


-A school with two mesas, one with two machines, the third one with one, all THREE have the same number of votes.


I have yet to see an example in which there are three machines, two with identical numbers and the third one is larger than the two identical ones. This is interesting because it makes the probability of this occurring at random even more difficult.


The CD also reported that there were only two states where no cases where reported.


Now, today during the day, Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center said that there were no more than 402 cases of identical machines which was within what could be expected. The same was said by the OAS observer yesterday linked below. Moreover, CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez during his press conference said that the CNE would present a study that shows that these occurrences were within what could be expected.


Since the CNE has yet to release data at the detail of the machines, the source of the information for Ms. McCoy and the OAS observer has to be the CNE. Since there is an almost factor of five difference between the two, one of the two sides is definitely lying, which one I have no clue. Moreover, if in all pairs of identical numbers the third one is smaller, and then even the 402 cases mentioned by McCoy would be statistically improbable. There is also the possibility that the CNE, OAS and Carter Center are talking about tables (mesas) and not machines, but it would be truly irreponsible to make this mistake at this stage of the game.


2- The second complaint by the CD was that the promise to audit 199 voting centers last Sunday in live audits was never fulfilled and no explanation has been given for this. According to the CD, the audit was supposed tom encompass 20 states, which was reduced unilaterally by the CNE to only 14 states. Of these fourteen states, CD representatives had trouble getting in to the audits in half of the states and were able to participate only in seven of them in the following states: Libertador, Miranda, Zulia, Tachira, Lara, Vargas y Merida.


In the centers that were audited in these seven states, the Si vote obtained 63% of the votes versus 37% of the votes for the No vote. In the preliminary CNE tally Libertador District went 56% to 43.9% for the No, Miranda went 50.1% to 49.9 % for the Si vote, Zulia went 52.0 to 47.9% for the No, Tachira went 50.7% to 49.3% for the Si, Lara went 62.4% to 37.6% for the No, Vargas went 663.9% to 36.1% for the No and Merida went 52.0% o 47.9% for the No.  Thus, the audit had the Si winning easily despite the fact that in five of those seven states the No supposedly won handily. But the CNE says the audit in all 14 states is completely consistent with the final results!


Well, all of these inconsistencies are too large to justify. Somebody is providing data that has been faked simply to make their point. Did the CNE give the Carter Center and the OAS false data on the coincidences? Is the CD lying about the number of coincidences? Is the CNE lying about Sunday’s audits which it has said agreed well? Or is the CD lying about their numbers?


Simply put I have no clue. But somehow the more numbers that are given out in bad faith, the deeper the hole that the liar gets into and the more difficult that it will be to get out of it.  This story is certainly far from over.

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