November 26, 2005

Another hole in CNE's Swiss Cheese-style Credibility

For months, Sumate has been saying that the combination of the finger-print scanning machines CNE has decided to use and electronic voting machines would allow CNE to deduce who had voted for whom, by matching up the sequenced records from the two machines.

Just to be sure we're all on the same page, I'll illustrate precisely what this is about. Say, at a given voting table, Juana Catalina is the first person in line. She gets her finger-print scanned first, which identifies her as indeed being Juana Catalina. Pepe Barrigón is in line right behind her, so he gets his finger-print scanned second. At the end of the day, the finger-print scanner machine's record shows:

1-Juana Catalina
2-Pepe Barrigón
etc. etc.

Juana then goes on to vote. She chooses MVR. Pepe Barrigón goes in second, he chooses Primero Justicia. The voting machine record shows:

2-Primero Justicia
etc. etc.

If CNE gets to look at both sequenced records, how hard would it be to figure out who voted for whom? Not very. Sumate has said again and again that this system does away with the constitutional principle of secret voting. In light of the dark history of political discrimination behind the Tascon List, the opposition has been alarmed about this.

For months now, CNE chairman Jorge Rodriguez has openly mocked the allegedly artificial "opinion current" Sumate has created over the secrecy of the vote, saying it was simply not true and just an attempt to discredit CNE.

Except, two days ago, when CNE carried out a voting simulation in front of International and Venezuelan elections monitors, Opposition technicians who were given access to all records were able to tell each person who participated in the simulation which party they had chosen. The machines do store sequenced records, it is possible to infer who voted for whom by looking at them, and the Opposition proved it.

The funniest thing about this whole affair - if funny is the right word here - is that when the whole scheme was laid bare for all to see, CNE and Smartmatic technicians declared themselves shocked, shocked! that the system they had spent years designing, developing, and implementing could do such a thing! Heavens, we never knew!

...sigh...all I can do about it is add another CNE Illegality du Jour...