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Did Hugo Chavez Infiltrate Primary Election?

By Amy Hart in News on Apr 10, 2006 12:35PM

Remember all of those voting machine snafus in last month's primary election? Well, some people think the problems were the result of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez trying to infiltrate the US electoral system. International intrigue, right here in Chicago! And no, this isn't the plot to a new political thriller.

2006_04_hugochavez.jpgChicago's new electronic voting machines were supplied by Sequoia Voting Systems, a company based in California, but ultimately owned by a Venezuelan company. After the primary, several aldermen complained about the machines malfunctioning and threatened not to pay Sequoia. Then Sequoia's lawyers got involved and told Chicago election officials that they could only withhold payment on the $52 million if they could prove Sequoia was in breach of contract.

There was some discussion about how Venezuelan socialist demagogue Hugo Chavez could have tried to manipulate the voting process. Then late last week Alderman Ed Burke said he believes the problems with the voting machines are part of an "international conspiracy to subvert the electoral process."

The whole theory seems a bit out there to Chicagoist. Why would Hugo Chavez want to disrupt an election in Chicago when he's such good friends with Ozzie Guillen? Is he that upset that the CTA wouldn't accept his offer of cheap fuel?