Aug. 2 (UPI) — Turnout figures for the controversial vote in Venezuela to establish a Constituent Assembly were tampered with, the company that provided the voting technology said Wednesday.
On Sunday, the regime of President Nicolas Maduro said more than 8 million people turned out in a referendum to effectively replace the elected parliament — the National Assembly — with one that has the power to rewrite the Constitution. Eight million people is about 41 percent of the voting-eligible population of the country.
Smartmatic, which has provided election technology to Venezuela since 2004, said those numbers were inaccurate and it cannot endorse the Sunday election.
“Based on the robustness of our system, we know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Smartmatic said that to ensure there is no tampering, its tabulation centers must be audited by members of all political parties. Because opposition parties boycotted the vote, officials said, there were no monitors — which allowed for the manipulation of the numbers.
Opposition members saw the Sunday vote as a power grab for Maduro. The Constituent Assembly would be able to dissolve the National Assembly, which is controlled by a coalition of opposition parties, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD.
On Monday, the United States levied new sanctions on Maduro in response to the election.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called Maduro a “dictator who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people.”
“By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy,” he said.