Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Critics warn of post-election problems if no paper trail exists
Touch-screen voting: "In many ways, politics in the United States are unlike those in Venezuela. The South American nation last month held a recall election for President Hugo Chavez, who survived an attempted coup in 2002.
But in another sense, that election may foreshadow the upcoming election in this country. The Venezuelan vote was conducted using electronic voting machines that generate a voter-verified paper trail. Chavez's opposition claimed that the victory, in which 59 percent voted to keep Chavez in power, was rigged. But international election monitors were able to conduct an audit by comparing the paper record to the electronic vote tallies.
'Without a paper trail to audit, there would have been no way to reach any closure on this situation,' said one American observer on the scene in Caracas, Venezuela's capital. 'There would be no paper trail, and you would be left with the assertion that some kind of manipulation happened. You have a safe bet that something like that is going to happen in November' in the United States."
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