Venezuelans crowded grocery stores and markets on Saturday to stock up on food or lined and collected the national ID cards they need for voting.

Sunday's ballot is expected to be the tightest presidential election faced by Chavez during nearly 14 years in office. Members of militias he has formed were out in the streets searching vehicles for weapons.

Tensions between both political camps have been high, given the expectations of a close election.

Colorful posters for both Chavez and his challenger, former state governor Henrique Capriles, festoon Caracas' streets. Some have been defaced.

Shoppers, many wearing the red T-shirts of "Chavistas," filled a government market to buy food at subsidized prices.

At a park in the city, people sat on benches in a long line awaiting last-minute pickups of their national identification cards.