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Smartmatic Statement on the recent Constituent Assembly Election in Venezuela

United Kingdom, London - August 2, 2017 - Smartmatic has provided election technology and support services in Venezuela since 2004. Even in moments of deep political conflict and division we have been satisfied that the voting process and the count has been completely accurate. It is, therefore, with the deepest regret that we have to report that the turnout figures on Sunday, 30 July, for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela were tampered with. 

The automated election system used in Venezuela is tamper evident and self-reports any attempt to interfere with it. This means that the system is designed to protect the votes from any manipulation and to immediately identify and alert of such an attempt. This security feature is achieved by combining a series of auditing mechanisms, intrinsic to the system, that are impossible to circumvent. 

Smartmatic has stood behind all the results of the elections held in Venezuela from 2004 to 2015, regardless of what political party won. When President Chavez won in 2004, we did not hesitate to endorse those results based on the many safeguards of our platform and the multiple audits that were carried out. This has always been the case in each and every election thereafter, including when President Maduro won in 2013 by a razor thin margin, or when the opposition won the majority of the National Assembly in 2015.

Based on the robustness of our system, we know, without any doubt, that the turn out of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated. It is important to highlight that similar manipulations are made in manual elections in many countries, but because of the lack of electronic security and auditing safeguards, they go unnoticed.

So, what happened? Why can we stand by the results of previous Venezuelan elections but we cannot endorse the elections held last Sunday? Our automated election system is designed to make it evident when results are manipulated, however, there must be people auditing the system and watching for that evidence. During the National Constituent Assembly elections there were no auditors from the opposition parties as they did not want to participate. 

A vulnerability of any election that is clearly identified is that the consolidated results report that the system produces at the National Tabulation Center at the end of Election Day can be ignored by the authorities in charge of running the election and that altered results can be announced in its place. This is why, in all previous elections since 2004, representatives from all the political parties have been present in the Tabulation Center when the results report is issued to have access to the same information. In the election of the Constituent Assembly in 2017, there were no such representatives.

In addition, in all elections held in Venezuela since 2004, all political parties have received printed copies of the election returns of all polling stations. When the election commission publishes the results on its website, precinct by precinct, it is very easy to compare all these printed records against the results published by the elections commission. 

Furthermore, the total sum of all election returns must coincide with the final results published by the National Elections Council. This auditing mechanism allows all parties involved to prevent any type of manipulation in the transmission, tallying and publication of election night reports. This protocol has been followed in all Venezuelan elections since 2004, except for the election last Sunday, because the opposition didn’t participate. 

An audit would allow everyone to know the exact participation. We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least one million votes. It is important to point out that this would not have occurred if the auditors of all political parties had been present at the different stages of the election.