Colombia’s inspector general asked to revoke the identity papers of a quarter of newly registered voters on Tuesday on suspicion they may be used for fraud in October’s local elections.
Inspector General Fernando Carrillo asked the National Electoral Council (CNE) to nullify more than 773,000 ID registrations after finding that addresses do not coincide with these people’s registration in, for example, the social security database.
Consequently, Carrillo said he believed these registrations may be used for election fraud on October 27 when Colombians vote for their new mayor or governor.
While voter registration trafficking is one of the most common forms of election fraud in local elections, the exact mechanism of the fraud practice is unclear.
This practice allows fraudsters to vote in towns where the registered voter doesn’t live. Whether this is done through identity theft or with the consent of the voter has never been properly investigated.
What is clear is that the fraud practice requires the cooperation of the National Registry, whose director was accused of permitting voter fraud in last year’s congressional and presidential elections.
Since then, national registry offices throughout Colombia have been accused of being used by ELN guerrillas, foreign criminals and even terrorism suspects to falsify their identities.
As the election come closer, citizens have increasingly reported alleged fraud, according to the independent Electoral Observation Mission (MOE).
In August, the MOE received 456 reports of alleged election fraud, more than alleged fraud reports received in the preceding eight months.
Because of the dysfunctionality of the CNE and the National Registry, the two bodies in charge of fair elections, fraud in local elections has been commonplace since recent memory.
This has allowed the election of all kinds of corrupt officials and allows organized crime to get henchmen elected in key positions to protect illegal businesses like drug trafficking.
According to the MOE, some 7% of the officials elected in 2015 have since been sanctioned for corruption or other crimes.