Venezuela poll turnout figures 'manipulated': e-voting firm

Venezuela poll turnout figures 'manipulated': e-voting firm

London (AFP) - The firm that has provided Venezuela's election technology for more than a decade cast doubt Wednesday on the outcome of weekend polls for a new assembly, saying turnout figures were "manipulated".

"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," Antonio Mugica, chief executive of Smartmatic, told reporters in London.

He added: "We estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced by authorities is at least one million votes."

The British company deplored the lack of participation in Sunday's electoral process by opposition parties, which did not provide auditors or send representatives to the Tabulation Center when the results report was issued.

It noted that political parties usually received printed copies of election returns of all polling stations, to allow them to compare these printed records against the results published later by the electoral commission.

"This protocol has been followed in all Venezuelan elections since 2004, except for the elections last Sunday, because the opposition didn't participate," Mugica said.

Venezuelan officials say more than 40 percent of Venezuela's 20 million voters cast ballots on Sunday.

The opposition says turnout was closer to 12 percent -- on a par with the population of state employees, who were under major pressure to vote.

According to polling firm Datanalisis, more than 70 percent of Venezuelans oppose the new assembly.

Smartmatic, the world's leading elections and voting technology company, has worked with Venezuela's Electoral Authority since 2004.

It has endorsed each electoral result since then, including when President Nicolas Maduro narrowly won in 2013 and when the opposition secured the majority in the National Assembly in 2015.