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The Latest: Venezuela's leader casts unusual early vote

The Latest on Venezuela's political crisis and the vote for a constitutional assembly (all times local):

7 a.m.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is asking for global acceptance as he casts an unusual pre-dawn vote for an all-powerful constitutional assembly that his opponents fear he'll use to replace the country's democracy with a single-party authoritarian system.

Accompanied by close advisers and state media, Maduro voted at 6:05 a.m. local time, far earlier and less publicly than in previous elections. The run-up to Sunday's vote has been marked by months of clashes between protesters and the government, including the fatal shooting of a 61-year-old nurse by men accused of being pro-government paramilitaries during a protest this month at a church a few hundred feet from the school where Maduro voted.

"We've stoically withstood the terrorist, criminal violence," Maduro said. "Hopefully the world will respectfully extend its arms toward our country."