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Caracas, October 11th 2013. Why should we automate elections? was the title of the presentation given by Smartmatic’s Product Manager Rui Santos during the XXXIX Latin American Computing Conference (CLEI 2013). This annual event gathers professionals, researchers, teachers and students of Latin American universities and research centres to discuss a variety of IT related topics.    

This time it was Venezuela’s turn to organize the CLEI. The conference took place in a renown beach club on the Venezuelan central coastline (Vargas state), from October 7th to 11th.  It was a perfect chance to further the participation and influence of Venezuelan researchers and students. The Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB), Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB) and Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (UBV) explained the nation’s advances in IT.  

CLEI 2013 proved to be an excellent opportunity to showcase Venezuela’s advances on voting automation. Nowadays, Venezuela is, together with Brazil, the only country in the continent that can announce official results in a maximum of 48 hours after the election closes. The reason: these are the only two countries with 100% voting automation.

During his intervention, Santos remarked that every election must offer transparency, security, exactness and the possibility for verification. He argued that electronic voting is the only way to minimize human error (either voluntary or involuntary) and to guarantee accuracy. “The register of votes in a (voting) machine is deterministic.” he added.   

The conference included several symposia on an array of subjects, namely: Software Engineering; Computing and Society; Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence; Infrastructure, Hardware and Software; Innovative Data Systems; Computational Theory; Graphic Computing, Virtual Reality and Image Processing, among others.  

Guest speakers included  David Padua, Professor of Computer Sciences of the University of Illinois (USA), who spoke about the automation of computer programs; Esteban Clua, Associate Professor of Computer Sciences at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil), who talked about the advances and challenges of computer science and videogames; and Francisco Tirado, from the Faculty of Physical Sciences of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), who presented “Computers of the XXI Century: an unforeseeable development.”