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October 09, 2012

Venezuela: Did sneaky ballot changes cost Capriles a home-state victory? Maybe.

A few days ago I wrote about last minute ballot changes that might hurt the chances of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. (See the post below.)

In particular, a party called "Unidad Democratica" switched its vote to dark horse candidate Reina Sequera after the ballots were printed. As a result, anyone who punched the UD ticket was giving their vote to Sequera even though it had Capriles' mugshot on it.

For anyone not following the race, Hugo Chavez won with 55 percent of the vote and a margin of more than 1.5 million votes, so this all pointless speculation.

But those ballot changes might have just cost Capriles victory in his home state of Miranda, where he is governor.

According to the National Election Council, Chavez won Miranda with 766,473 votes versus Capriles' 761,119. The Unidad Democratica ticket (with Capriles' mug on it) won 4,995 votes. Add those up and Capriles is just 359 votes shy of a tie.

But there were three other parties that also pulled their support from Capriles at the last minute. Anyone who marked his mug in one of those slots cast a null vote. The CNE doesn't provide a breakdown of null votes, but there were 28,770 of them in Miranda. Even if just a fraction were due to the unsuspecting trying to vote for Capriles through those three parties then he might have clenched it.

Of course, this is all irrelevant. Capriles isn't contesting the vote and is already looking toward the regional races in December. 

October 04, 2012

Venezuela Elections: Battle of the Caracas closing rallies - view from above

Ahead of Sunday's vote, both sides held massive closing events in Caracas. The pictures below were both taken at 12:30 from the 7th floor of the ALBA Hotel. The first one, the Chavez rally, was shot today. The one below it is from the opposition's rally Sunday. 

It's important to point out that there is activity well beyond the frames of these pictures and 12:30 wasn't the high-water mark for either event. Also, both campaigns were using the space differently. With no further ado:



October 01, 2012

Venezuela election quiz: Which of these men is actually a woman who wants to give everyone $1 million?


When Venezuelan voters hit the ballot box this weekend, they will have 22 ways to vote for opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles — but four of them won’t work.

Late changes to the ballot might turn the day into a guessing game for voters after four political parties that previously supported Capriles changed their minds.

As a result, anyone who checks the Unidad Democrática box, which has a picture of Capriles, might actually be voting for Reina Sequera — a dark-horse candidate who has vowed to give every Venezuelan $1 million and free Internet access. (You can read her platform here.) Votes for three other parties, which also have Capriles’ picture, will result in nullified ballots.

Read the full story here

To help those going to the polls, I've created a cheat sheet below. The crowned Capriles is the vote that will go toward Sequera (in a Christmas hat). The bearded Capriles are the null votes.

Speaking of hats, a hat tip is due to Russ Dallen and his excellent BBO Financial Services newsletter, which first alerted me to the issue. 



jim wyss

Inside South America is written by Jim Wyss, the South America bureau chief for the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers.

Feel free to send a story suggestion. Read Jim's stories at MiamiHerald.com.

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