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This is a Blog of my trip to Venezuela with the Venezuela Information Office from August 13-18, 2004, as an official observer for the referendum on the Hugo Chavez government.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

<Marc> Carter gave a press conference in which he noted that it has taken longer
for each person to vote and that there are more voters than what the CNE
had originally taken into account. The polls have been extended to 8 pm
(from 6 pm) and it is important for people to be patient. Everybody can
vote. It is important for the press or political parties not to make any
early announcements as to the projected outcome of the vote. Everything
with the vote so far is going well.

In our delegation we had several general observations:
* a general lack of propaganda at the voting sites (according to the law).
* lines are long & slow which causes tensions and accusations of people
cutting lines, etc.
* there are shorter lines for old people, mothers, etc.
* some people have problems with wrong ID numbers on their voting cards,
changes in voting places, etc.
* at one place there were protests against the military voting before
civilians (probably so that the military would be free to be at their
positions in case there are disturbances later).
* people in poor neighborhoods are content to wait in long lines for 10
hrs, but those in wealth neighborhoods complain about shorter lines and waits.

</Marc> <!--5:31 PM-->

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