A few weeks ago the National Electoral Council (CNE) extended an invitation to the Carter Center to “accompany” the October 7 presidential election rather than “observe” it. The Carter Center had hesitations about such election day “accompaniment,” since it does not provide the independent access to the actual voting machines or data like actual observation does. The CNE eventually offered them an intermediate possibility in which they could participate in the pre-electoral auditing of the machines and witness voting centers on election day. But they declined saying the invitation came too late for them to put together a team and funding.

This is unfortunate since even a majority of government supporters think the election would benefit from international observation.

Independent observation now falls exclusively to two organizations: Observatorio Electoral Venezolano and Asamblea de Educación. The issue to watch for moving forward is whether the CNE will grant these two organizations enough observer credentials for them to draw a sample big enough to do a quick count with a small enough margin of error to validate the elections if they are close.