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Voters head to the polls in Venezuela

 

Venezuelan Presidency via EPA

Venezuelan ruling party presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro, bottom left, greets his supporters after casting his ballot at a polling station in Caracas, Venezuela, April 14. Maduro said the election has seen a participation record and he hopes to be the president to keep and improve the policies of late President Hugo Chavez.

By Alexandra Olson and Frank Bajak, The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Voters who kept Hugo Chavez in office for 14 years were deciding Sunday whether to elect the devoted lieutenant he chose to carry on the revolution that endeared him to the poor but that many Venezuelans believe is ruining the nation.

Across Caracas, trucks blaring bugle calls awoke Venezuelans long before dawn in the ruling socialists' traditional election day get-out-the-vote tactic. This time, they also boomed Chavez's voice singing the national anthem.

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Leo Ramirez / AFP - Getty Images

People line up to cast their votes at a polling station in Petare shantytown, Caracas.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

Residents look for their names on voter lists outside a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

A voter has her finger marked with ink after casting her ballot.

Fernando Llano / AP

Opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles greets supporters after casting his ballot.

After passionate campaigning, Venezuelans went to the polls to choose who will replace the late Hugo Chavez. NBC's Mark Potter reports.