The Venezuelan state prosecutor’s office said late on Wednesday it has opened an investigation into accusations that the country’s elections council manipulated turnout figures in Sunday’s controversial election for a legislative superbody. Voting technology firm Smartmatic, which provides the South American nation’s voting machines, said the turnout figure of 8.1 million had been inflated by at least 1 million votes. It did not describe its methodology in reaching that conclusion. President Nicolas Maduro and the elections council denied the accusation. The vote count was crucial for the ruling Socialist Party to legitimize the vote for the constituent assembly, which was boycotted by the opposition and broadly condemned by countries around the world as an assault on democratic freedoms. “We are in the face of a grave and unprecedented action that could constitute a crime,” Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega said in a statement by the prosecutor’s office, […]