Even among those opposition supporters who turned out, many were doubtful that their votes would have any impact — or even be fairly counted.
Mr. Maduro’s administration was accused of altering the results of the last election, which installed a constituent assembly that has been declared superior to the legislature. The body could even have the ability to remove power from the governorships or block new governors from taking office.
“The government never plays clean,” said Jesús Pestana, 46, an auto-parts seller who was waiting to cast his ballot for the opposition candidate in Miranda. “They always do things to favor themselves.”
Many voters said only an overwhelming result against the ruling party might have a chance of forcing Mr. Maduro to loosen his authoritarian grip. “The country has to see the opposition,” said Italo Acosta, 60, a school bus driver in Miranda. Otherwise, he said, “the government will do what it wants.”
Jorge Marrero, 41, had been standing in line for nearly three hours at his polling place in Sucre, where there were numerous technical problems, and he did not know how much longer he would have to wait. The sun was beating down on him.
“I’m sure they’re going to play all the tricks in the world and they’re going to falsify the results,” said Mr. Marrero, who owns a Papa John’s Pizza franchise. “But we have faith that if there’s a big response, then maybe they won’t be able to do it.”
Just then, the sunshine turned to rain. Mr. Marrero shrugged. “You got to get wet, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “At least we’re doing something.”
For many voters whose regular polling places had been moved, the day was even more strenuous.
Voters who have habitually voted at the San Lucas Institute in the middle-class neighborhood of El Llanito here were transported by opposition-supplied buses throughout the day to a voting station in a working-class neighborhood, Barrio La Unión.
The opposition candidate for governor of Miranda, Carlos Ocariz, was among them: He, too, used to vote at the school in El Llanito but was being forced to vote on Sunday in Barrio La Unión. So, he made an event of it.
At an impromptu news conference in front of the San Lucas Institute, he reported that there had been many delays at polling sites throughout the state — and said that made it all the more important for people to come out and vote.
“It’s going to be a marvelous day for Venezuela,” Mr. Ocariz declared.
He then boarded a shuttle bus and, amid an enthusiastic pack of supporters on motorcycles, some carrying the flag of his political party, rumbled toward Barrio La Unión.
The barrio appeared to be enemy territory for Mr. Ocariz. Its walls were covered in posters supporting his opponent, Héctor Rodriguez. Residents heckled him from windows and doorways as his convoy wound through the narrow streets.
He disembarked from the bus and walked in a cocoon of supporters to the polling station. Outside, dueling clusters of pro-government and pro-opposition activists alternated chants.
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