December 2, 2007

Voting closes: Is the turnout high enough?

Quico says: It's 4:00 p.m. in Caracas. Voting has now closed in voting centers where people are not waiting to vote. The actual voting process was much faster today than it had been in past votes, largely because the CNE authorities took the fingerprint scanning machines offline. The result? Shorter lines, and the perception that turnout was low.

But was turnout really low, or did it just seem that way to us because we're used to gauging turnout by the length of the lines outside voting centers?

This is the key question now. Just to review: public opinion research suggests the "No" side should win only if turnout climbs above 60% (9.5 million votes).

The first official results bulletin should follow within 3 hours, by 7:00 p.m. Caracas time. This is the nerviest hour. The student movement and the No camp believe turnout is now above 60%. If so, the No side should win. But it's tight. It's very tight.