Colombia’s government and electoral authorities are rushing to increase transparency in Sunday’s hotly contested elections.
The country’s National Election Commission (CNE) on Tuesday said that it will allow computer experts hired by the political parties to audit the vote-counting software.
This will allow the political parties to warn the authorities if any irregularities are observed during the vote-counting process.
Also on Tuesday, the European Union announced eight members of European Parliament will travel to Colombia on Friday and personally visit polling stations on Sunday.
National registrar’s position virtually untenable
National Registrar Juan Carlos Galindo will have to explain President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday why his office failed to fix security flaws that, according to the State Council, allowed fraudsters to alter the results of the 2014 legislative elections.
Galindo came under fire after leftist candidate Gustavo Petro told international reporters that “the software has algorithm alterations that don’t give a guarantee and could generate a massive fraud.”
Santos initially said the fraud claims were “invented” by the “extreme left,” but was quickly forced to take action after election observers and members of his own party confirmed the fraud claims.
Senator Armando Benedetti said Tuesday that registry officials have confirmed that hundreds of jurors who monitored legislative elections in March can’t be found in social security databases.
De la entrevista de @VickyDavilaH a @jcgalindovacha queda claro q:
1. Al software no le han hecjo auditoría
un simulacro no es una auditoría
2. tema de jurados fantasmas. hasta ahora la regustraduría esta cruzando base d datos ente seguridad social y empresas. terrible
— Ariel Ávila (@ArielAnaliza) May 22, 2018
Señor @jcgalindovacha, ayer su equipo se reunió conmigo y los cruces que presentaron de los jurados lo hicieron con una base de datos desactualizada y no con PILA, y aún así encontraron más 600 jurados irregulares. ¿Cómo dice ahora que son 400? #RegistradorEnLaW #VickyDavilaEnLaW https://t.co/a29Zrb11Ag
— Armando Benedetti (@AABenedetti) May 22, 2018
Despite the mounting evidence of widespread fraud in the legislative elections of 2014 and March, the registrar has insisted the elections were clean.
Electoral authorities: complicit or negligent?
Electoral observers have been urging measures since February when the State Council said that the vote-counting software had been rigged and that ballots had been destroyed in 2014.
The investigations of Benedetti and think tank Fundacion Paz y Reconciliacion seem to confirm that the same methods were used to sway the results of the congressional vote in March, and that registry officials were complicit in the fraud.
The State Council and the MOE, which has independently monitored elections since 2007, have been calling on the registry and CNE to urgently reinforce the vote-counting software since February.
Petro, who’s anti-corruption crusade has led to the incarceration of dozens of corrupt politicians over the past 15 years, reiterated on Wednesday that he will call for massive protests if on Sunday there are indications of fraud in the first round.