Venezuela's Maduro set to win in presidential election derided by US as a 'sham'

Venezuela's Maduro set to win in presidential election derided by US as a 'sham'

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appears poised to win reelection on Sunday, even as United States officials decried the result as a “sham.”

Reuters reported that the vote in Venezuela seemed to have a low turnout compared to past elections. The news agency also reported that multiple instances of voter intimidation likely had an effect on turnout.

Three state workers told Reuters they were pressured into voting. Pro-government activists reportedly loitered near polling stations under the guise of assisting voters.

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Some Venezuelans told Reuters that they were not voting on Sunday because they felt the result was predetermined. 

Polls closed at 6 p.m., with results expected either Sunday night or early Monday. 

Even before results started to roll in, U.S. officials criticized Maduro's government for what many have viewed as the election's expected result.

Vice President Pence called on Venezuela to postpone its elections due to concerns about the validity of the vote.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Putin orders response to US missile test The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? MORE deemed the election a "sham."

"Sham elections change nothing. We need Venezuelan people running this country...a nation with so much to offer the world," Pompeo tweeted.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said the U.S. would not recognize the result of the vote.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert derided the vote as a "so-called" election.

"The United States stands with democratic nations around the world in support of the Venezuelan people and their sovereign right to elect their representatives through free and fair elections," she tweeted.

The Trump administration has consistently criticized Maduro, who has led Venezuela since the death of Hugo Chávez in 2013. The U.S. has levied a series of sanctions against Venezuela but has so far avoided a total boycott.