Audits: Venezuela presidential election 2006

Before this presidential election, the CNE Electoral Authority and Smartmatic organised tests of the automated voting system.

During these audits of the software and hardware —as well as of the transmission and results tallying—technical representatives of the main political organisations were present to verify that the voting system was functioning properly.

End-to-end Test (13 October)
Smartmatic performed a quality control test on a sample of 200 voting machines (120 SAES-3000 and 80 SAES-3300) to be used. Votes were input continuously and tallied afterwards. 

Voting software audit (11-27 October)
Technicians from the political parties and the electoral commission evaluated the system's programming for over two weeks. Smartmatic representatives explained the entire process required to prepare the voting machines so they could be analysed thoroughly. Representatives of each political party were given a list of the digital signatures of every machine so they could certify that the software used in the electronic booths was the same one they checked during the audit.

Hardware audit (12 & 13 October)
Technicians from the political parties and the CNE dismantled a number of machines in order to check their physical components, such as motherboards, network cards, tactile membranes and touch-sensitive screens.

Engineering Test (29 October)
The CNE validated the technological infrastructure through which the electoral data was to be transmitted, such as the fixed phone lines, cellular networks and satellite telephony.

The test included 325 municipal assemblies from all over the country, in which 725 voting machines were used. An additional test of a further 400 machines was also carried out.  

Voting trial (5 November)
This test allowed oversight officials to simulate potential failures and to design possible contingency plans.

Closing audit (3 December)
At the end of election day a closing audit was performed, which consisted of opening over 54% of the ballots (where voter-verified paper trails were available) and comparing the final printed version with the transmitted voting registry.

Over 17,000 closing audits were carried out, 100% of which confirmed that the results in the voting machines were exact matches of the printed vouchers.

Both the Organization of American States and the European Union, together with other international observers present during these audits, agreed that the Smartmatic voting machines were reliable and efficient.