The National Electoral Council relocated 274 voting stations in areas which had been affected by the violence earlier this year. | Photo: AVN archive

The National Electoral Council has relocated 274 voting stations in areas which had been affected by the violence earlier this year.

Polls are open for the Venezuela's regional elections, in which 23 governorships will be contested. About 18 million people are eligible to vote at the 13,559 polling stations nationwide.

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The opposition is fielding candidates in all of the country's 23 states. Politicians connected with the Socialist Party of Venezuela, or Psuv, currently hold 20 of the governorships.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro posted a message of peace and democracy across the governorships.

Con el Toque de la Diana #HoyVotamosPorLaPatria por la Paz y por la Democracia para la elección de 23 gobernaciones https://t.co/QxFadBZ9YB

— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) October 15, 2017

Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who voted in the state of Aragua, said the process is the most dignified response to interventionism.

"We are ratifying once again the democratic vocation of the people," he said, in an interview at the poll. "It is not the United States that determines the faith of Venezuela, but the people. We came to seal our commitment to the Constitution."

The VP added that "It has to be a historical process again."

Venezuela's Vice President @TareckPSUV voted in Aragua state, calling today's regional elections an anti-imperialist one #VenezuelaDecide pic.twitter.com/LKJUBchggm

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 15, 2017

Head of the electoral council, Tibisay Lucena, said voting is off to a smooth start. Lucena added that there is an 83 percent turnout in the state of Nueva Esparta and approximately 60 percent reported in others.

People have been voting for the regional elections here in Petare since 6AM, until now all is normal and going smooth #VenezuelaDecide pic.twitter.com/Vryyg1WYQk

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 15, 2017

Primeros votantes haciendo cola en #Petare para votar por #eleccionesregionales. 226 candidatos se juegan 23 gobernaciones. #VenezuelaDecide pic.twitter.com/VvzzjEoYDg

— Esther Yáñez (@EstherYez) October 15, 2017

#EleccionesRegionales #VenezuelaDecide Así, toque de diana en barrio La Unión de #Petare. Reportan otros en varios puntos de Sucre pic.twitter.com/JZ1JgkUo7Y

— Adriana Flores (@AdrianaEteleSUR) October 15, 2017

The National Electoral Council has relocated 274 voting stations in areas which had been affected by an outbreak of violence earlier this year in which 100 people lost their lives.

The ceremonial Toque de la Diana was performed in anticipation of the opening of the polls.

Cohetones y toque de diana en #Petare: sonidos rituales de democracia en #Venezuela #EleccionesRegionales #VenezuelaDecide pic.twitter.com/JBAz9mRqNB

— Adriana Flores (@AdrianaEteleSUR) October 15, 2017

Douglas Bastidas votará por primera vez en estas #EleccionesRegionales.Desde hace 5 años coloca los cohetones para toque de diana pic.twitter.com/mJXjzr4nt7

— Adriana Flores (@AdrianaEteleSUR) October 15, 2017

 Voters have been lined up before the polls open.

En #Petare a punto de abrir colegios. Votantes ya chequean qué mesa electoral les corresponde. Empieza a amanecer #VenezueaDecide pic.twitter.com/9RD5nqSMJH

— Esther Yáñez (@EstherYez) October 15, 2017

People are queuing in Los Salias, San Antonio de Los Altos, Miranda to vote in Venezuela's regional elections #VenezuelaDecide pic.twitter.com/ZTWgXEA8Eo

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 15, 2017
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Hundreds of prosecutors have been deployed to oversee any irregularities. One international observer, Gloria Flores, from Colombia is among 2,000 officials dispatched to ensure transparency in the voting process.

Gloria Flores, international observer from Colombia, ensuring transparency and democracy in Venezuela's regional elections #VenezuelaDecide pic.twitter.com/gRydAa6PeH

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 15, 2017

International guests who are in Venezuela for the vote, have presented a preliminary report acknowledging the reliability of the system used by the National Electoral Council, CNE.

At a news conference on Saturday, Guillermo Reyes, Colombia's electoral representative and member of the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, CEELA, highlighted the political participation of all sectors in Venezuela with their technical delegates in the audits.

A polling station being prepared in Táchira, western Venezuela. 

Polling station in Táchira, western Venezuela 

Polling station in Táchira, western Venezuela 

Reyes also referred to the country's electronic voting system which is considered the most modern in Latin America.

"When technological innovations are incorporated ... higher levels of efficiency and reliability are generated," he said.

He went on to say that the exclusion of around 17 thousand people from the Electoral Register, according to a provision of the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Aliens, had been caused by problems with their nationalization.

The international guests said the figure corresponds to less than 0.1 percent of Venezuela's voters, which would have no effect on the electoral result.

The ballot is the second this year after July's National Constituent Assembly elections.