Venezuela’s 2015 parliamentary elections: Audits and tests

The Venezuelan voting system is thoroughly audited before, during and after each election.

This time around, multiple tests were scheduled for the different components of the voting platform. Each audit was done before technical representatives from all the participating political parties.

1.- Engineering test (September 20th) | The operative readiness, technological infrastructure and fault tolerance of the system were checked from different locations across the country. 

2.- Audit of the voting machine software (October 13th to 16th) | Carried out to verified that the software of the voting machines registers, counts and transmits information correctly.

3.- Audit of the biometric system (October 13th to 16th) | Conducted to certify that the biometric platform could in fact authenticate voters before the voting session begins.

4.- Voting simulation (October 18th) | National test of all of the system’s technological and logistical elements. 

5.- Audit of the voting infrastructure (October 26th to 28th) | The technological platform and the structure of the voting machines was reviewed. A machine was opened so political parties could attest that each one of its components was needed for its operation, and that there were no external components or elements that could compromise the election.

6.- Audit of the voting machine production (November 2nd to 27th) | This audit verified that the voting machines were manufactured and configured with the codes that were previously certified during the software audit; and is also serves to validate that its operation is exactly what it was defined. The process includes selecting a number of voting machines (randomly selected by the political parties) and voting with them, to validate their correct performance. 

7.- Audit of the tallying software (November 9th to 13th) | Audit conducted to check the source code of the software in the tallying centres, where the data is received and results were consolidated and published.

8.- Audit of the infrastructure of the National Tallying Centres (November 16th and 17th) | Technicians from the political parties reviewed the voting infrastructure as a whole, i.e. servers and communication components that were hosted in the data centers set for vote tallying. 

9.- Pre-dispatch audit (November 29th) | An integral test of the voting process, which included voting, data transmission, tallying and a final audit using the paper vouchers cast in the backup ballot boxes.

10.- Pre-voting telecommunications audit (December 5th) | This audit validated that the networks used to transmit results were working properly.

11-. Citizen verification, phase I (December 6th) | After the polls closed, the voting vouchers were checked against the vote counts printed by the machines, so it is clear that they matched 100%. The audit used a random sample of over 50% of the voting machines and was open to the public. 

12.- Post-voting telecommunications audit (December 7th) | A verification to ensure that the telecommunications network kept the same configuration that was audited before the event. This guarantee that no changes were made during the election. 

13.- Citizen verification, phase II (December 11th) | Technicians from the National Electoral Council and from the political parties verify that the choices registered in the printed voting vouchers match the statements of the vote and the data held in the National Tallying Centre on election day. This test is performed on 1% of the machines, selected at random.