Electoral fraud widespread in Colombia

A report released by the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) says that candidates in 407 of Colombia’s 1119 municipalities are engaging in “undemocratic” electoral practices.

The irregularities include atypical levels of citizen participation, invalid ballots, unmarked voting cards, and atypical vote counts for specific candidates.

In the Valley of Cauca, for example, a lack of control and enforcement by authorities has allegedly allowed public resources to be used to support certain candidates.

Meanwhile in Bogota and the department of Risaralda, incidents demonstrate that some candidates are using incentive systems and public subsidies to gain more votes.

An article from El Nuevo Siglo reports that several candidates in Bogota are using raffle tickets as a way to garner more votes.

A promotional package from one Bogota congressional candidate contains, when opened, his photo, his political platform, and a raffle ticket for an apartment.

Another candidate is distributing free raffle tickets to likely voters, while yet another has allegedly offered subsidized housing to potential voters.

The EOM report also expresses concern that illegal armed groups may pressure communities to vote a certain way.

There are also reports of candidates who are involved in criminal investigations, who are enrolled with more than one political party, who are enrolled with the same party more than once, and who are legally too young to run for office.

In an effort to guarantee election security, the national government has announced that they will supply 100,000 soldiers to guard voting booths on election day. According to Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, the strategy is to prioritize protection of the most critical and dangerous areas.

The EOM is a Colombian non-governmental organization that aims to protect the right of all Colombian citizens to participate freely in the political process.

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