Dip it in ink


In yet another blow to conspiracy theorists everywhere, the indelible ink that is to be used in the October 7th election passed the sniff test, as reported by @puzkas.

Apparently, those thousands of Cubans with multiple ID cards will have to come up with a way of tricking opposition witnesses in order to vote many times.

Then again, if we have no witnesses at the tables, they could do it easily as long as the ink is misused.


  1. It’s hard to tell if you believe it is even worth auditing the ink, what with the conspiracy theorists and all.

    I’m reminded of magicians starting with “nothing here, nothing there”. Invariably, however, the whole success of the ensuing trick is based on the fact that there was *something, somewhere else*. The difference between an election’s voters and a magician’s audience is that the latter wants to be fooled. In the electoral case, the voters want to make sure that they are not fooled.

    The problem is that voters don’t get to be witnesses of everything. The voters are forced to trust the CNE and the auditors. The CNE we know are partisan, so there is no trust there. So voters need to trust the auditors.

    Uri Geller managed to fool many people for a long time. When magicians requested that he perform his “special spoon bending abilities” in front of them, he repeatedly refused. Instead, Uri Geller accepted performing in front of scientists in a controlled environment set up by the scientists. The scientists could not detect any fraud, so Uri Geller gained even more credibility. When he finally performed before an audience of magicians, the magicians immediately picked up on the trick and left the room, all demonstrating the same “special ability”. They explained that scientists simply were not trained in spotting what they did for a living.

    So the auditors need to convince the voters not only that they have good intentions, but that they would know how to spot treachery if it were right under their noses. In other words, that they are magicians, not scientists.

    With posts like this, I get the impression that you are not on the magician team.

    • You make it sound like all scientists are fools. That’s a generalization. Just because Russel Targ and Harold Puthoff were fooled doesn’t mean all scientists can be fooled. Other scientists, magicians and prominent skeptics have pointed out how Uri’s tricks can be done. You don’t have to be on the magician team you just have to be on the critical thinking team.

    • Francisco (FC), Sorry, not my intention. I do not think scientists are fools. You only have to take a look at most of my comments to realize that if I believe anything, then it’s the contrary.

      As to the use of the words magician or scientist, I won’t quibble with the words. I did not imply *all* magicians, nor *all* scientists. I was referring to people who are good at spotting sleights of hand, or not. Though you may find scientists or any other kind of person good at detecting fraud at elections, I was using the label magicians to make the point that we need people who are specifically good at detecting fraud at the coming election. Critical thinking is not enough, the same way that being a good and smart programmer will not necessarily make you good at stopping a hacker. I imagine con artists are better than non con artists at detecting a con, or players are better at detecting someone making the moves than non players.

      It’s about expertise, not respect. I meant no disrespect to scientists. Again, sorry if you took it that way. I thought the Uri Geller example was clear; sorry if it wasn’t.

      • That’s Ok, I probably read that wrong. You’re right that people who are more familiar with tricks are better at spotting tricks. This reminds me of the phrase: “Hire a Thief to catch a Thief”

  2. The ink as a measure to prevent multiple votes is useless and always has been. The CNE´s norms that regulate every election don´t have, and have never had, any explicitly mentioned instruction with regards to CHECKING a voter´s finger before he/she is allowed to vote, nor is there any explicit procedure to follow if someone´s finger is found to be already “inked,” nor is there a norm that that prohibits persons with inked fingers to vote. Article 313 of the electoral norms clearly states that the only authentication requirement for voting is a cedula. If for some reason some testigo noticed a voter with an inked finger stepping into the voting table, he/she has absolutely no rule or procedure on which to base his/her objection. This seemingly stupid point has eluded electoral watchdogs for years. Whats the point of all the ink if theres really NO legal basis for using it as a preventative measure, or even as grounds for reporting fraud after the fact?

    Here´s the link to the entire document

  3. Oye Juan, no need to ridicule link to Frente Patriotico.

    Your own colleague here FT is one of those who believe that for fraud to take place thousands of people are needed: “…si se pretenden añadir 2 millones de votos, eso querría decir emitirle 10 cédulas de identidad chimbas a cada uno de los 200.000 chavistas involucrados en la conspiración. Digamos que cada uno puede votar 20 veces, ¿entonces? seguimos hablando de 100.000 personas, y hemos duplicado el número de cédulas incriminantes que cada uno tiene que llevar consigo.”

    You guys seem to keep missing the forest for the trees.

  4. Before every election, the ink is ‘shown’ to be indelible, and during every polling-day we find out it isn’t. Just one more red (or blue?) herring.

    • The question we should be asking is: Do the ink get audited in election day? Because with a pro-government CNE, it is always possible that somebody tamper with it on its way to the polling station.
      However, I subscribe Mr. Toro’s position regarding the impracticality of such ballot-stuffing scheme. It’s all about the witnesses…

    • It’s hard to believe if you haven’t experimented it, but donacobius is absolutely right. After the last election (2010) I rubbed my finger in chlorine diluted in water for a few minutes, and the ink went out easily. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common experience. How they do it (substituting one ink for the other) is another matter, but what can you expect from Plan Republica?

    • Yeah during the last election we removed it with bleach or nail polish remover – can’t remember – but it came off.

      I don’t think that this is all that important.

      I agree that the witnesses are key.

      • Yeah like this audited ink is necessarily the one that is finally distributed to the poll stations….
        Who is auditing the supply chain, warehousing, etc… Have you heard of the paquete chileno? oldest trick in the magicians book the switch a rooo.

        anyways, I look at hte fraud conspiracy issue differently, from a criminalistic point of view:
        Is there Motive?, is there opportunity? are there means?, who bennefits? etc…

        Draw you selves your own conclusions. The fraud in Venezuela elections is also death by a thousand pinches (cuts). the dead elephant lyes there in the middle of the room, there are no smoking guns, no bullet wounds, no scars….

        We keep looking for A proof of fraud, when there are several components to an unified vector in front of our eyes…. We are trying to play the “scientist” role and being more papistas que el papa, when we all know this goverment is not playing fair.

        No point in thrying to win this gaem with protocolo, when your opponent is a patan.

        This game is won by show of force. Force in voting, yes. But even more, force in defending the elections pre-election day (clean REP, Clean Identificacion and nacionalizaciones), clean electoral system back to manual and with paper ballots!; defending the elections on Election day: testigos de mesa, logistics, etc. AND monst importatly defending the elections POST-ELECTION , saliendo a los centros y saliendo a la calle a ver si lo militares se van a jugar desconocer un resultado abrumador.!!!

        Estamos listos?

  5. I’m late to the party (and long absent from it – howdy, all!), but I recall someone pointing out some months back the the REP has grown considerably over the last year or so, to the point where it seems to approach the entire Venezuelan voting age population. If this is indeed the case – this person said they did the research, and I don’t know where to look to prove or disprove the assertion – then what is the explanation for this increase?

    I certainly have a hard time accepting that the “ni-ni” population has, en masse, decided to register. What else could there be? Is there another kind of fraud that could be accomplished without thousands of people, perhaps like a few computer techs at the CNE padding votes at specific tables – like all that end up with zero opposition witnesses? There have been anecdotes from prior elections of tables and centers with alleged turnout approaching 100%, yielding results that strongly favor Chavez. It might be impossible to get an extra million votes this way, but is 50,000 out of the question, plus more votes from other methods (like a few dozen tables with chimbo ink, as theorized above)? Here a cheat, there a cheat, everywhere a cheat-cheat, and pretty soon, Old McChavez could steal himself a win….

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