Colombia agrees to international oversight to prevent repetition of voter fraud

Colombia’s presidential elections will be scrutinized by international election observers in the hope to prevent the repetition of fraud that tainted the 2014 results.

The involvement of the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) was requested by the campaign of leftist anti-corruption candidate Gustavo Petro.

Magistrate Yolima Carrillo of the National Election Council told Blu Radio that the electoral authority was asked if the international election observer “can look at the software.”

IFES said on its website that it “has become a leader in the use of technology that enhances efficiency and transparency of election administration around the world.”

Both the Petro campaign and electoral observers had complained that the National Registrar failed to patch security flaws in the vote-counting software that allowed fraudsters to delete hundreds of thousands of votes in the 2014 congressional elections.

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Emilio Hincapie, one of Petro’s campaign coordinators, asked for “guarantees and transparency” after a series of incidents.

The candidate was attacked in March and earlier this week the National Registrar admitted that it had failed to update Petro’s campaign logo on the ballot for the first round that is held on May 27.

The failure spurred the resignation of the National Election Management chief after admitting that an election official ignored the request to update the logo.

Alejandra Barrios of the Electoral Observation Mission told RCN Radio  that “when a candidate feels he doesn’t have guarantees you have to surround him with guarantees and make sure he receives all necessary answers.”

“The most delicate issue is the scrutiny software. If [calling in the help of IFES] generate confidence, all candidates will accept the results” of the elections.

The IFES is a Washington-based non-profit that is dedicated to promoting free and fair elections in countries where this is not always guaranteed.

One of its board members is former Colombian President Andres Pastrana, who has been campaigning for Petro’s rival, the conservative Ivan Duque.

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