Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez “won” an historic 2004 recall referendum on his presidency. The former military coup-plotter supposedly got the backing of 57.8% of the electorate, with only 42.2% against him. But the reality, say observers, is the opposite: By tampering with electronic voting machines, Yes-votes for recalling Chavez got turned into No-votes allowing him to stay in power.
The machines themselves were supplied and programmed by Chavez insiders at a heavy cost to the Venezuelan state. Tellingly, they are not even voting machines. Produced by Italy’s Olivetti for use as lottery terminals, they were sold to a shady government-connected outfit called Smartmatic who doubled the price and immediately resold them to the Venezuelan taxpayers for use in the recall referendum.
This was Smartmatic’s first-ever involvement in electronic election machines. At the time of the deal, the company’s largest shareholder was the Chavez government itself. No outside auditing of the election software has so far been effectively concluded.
By Johan Freitas, in Caracas
Today we know that Smartmatic is owned by Antonio Mujica a Venezuelan and in Hugo Chavez’s inner circle. Just days before the US mid-term elections, we find that Smartmatic voting machines are in place in several states.
Not to worry, Mujica indicated that the machines’ software is certified by three distinct groups at his company.
Now we know there are a dozen “Smartcards” missing in Democrat districts in Tennessee. Smartcards are easily reprogrammed with off the shelf equipment.
“It’s not who votes, it’s who counts the votes!” — Joe Stalin, 1950