Computer glitches cast shadow over Venezuelan elections : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Monitors say computer glitches casting shadow over Venezuelan elections

By SANDRA HERNANDEZ The Associated Press 5/19/00 10:11 PM

VENEZUELA, Caracas (AP) -- An election monitor expressed concern Friday that computer glitches could create problems during this month's national elections.

Ruben Perina, the head of the Organization of American States observation team in Venezuela, said his group is concerned about election officials' apparent inability to correct the malfunctions.

Two afternoon newspapers in Caracas ran banner headlines Friday saying it would be impossible to hold the vote on May 28 as planned.

"Frankly, we are concerned that there are serious technical problems," said Perina, the head of the OAS team sent to monitor the vote.

On Thursday Perina met with the National Election Council to discuss the campaign and some of the computer glitches.

"So far, from what we have seen, we believe the problems are fixable but we won't know for certain until next week," Perina told The Associated Press. He said OAS technicians are assisting the council as part of the team's monitoring role.

Venezuelans head to the polls this month to elect a president, congressmen, governors, mayors and local councils because of a new constitution pushed through by President Hugo Chavez last year that requires more than 6,000 public offices to be "re-legitimized" through new balloting.

The technical difficulties could have widespread implications for the vote since they could delay the printing of ballots and the preparation of software to tabulate votes.

Election authorities blame the problems on the huge number of candidates -- more than 36,000 -- running for state and local offices.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 19, 2000

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