Authorities in the Colombian cities of Bogota and Cartagena, as well as in the northwestern department of Choco, suspect fraudulent activity in the ballot counting for the country’s congressional elections on March 14, reported Colombian media on Monday.
According to reports, several procedural irregularities have been signaled in all three locations and the most common complaint by authorities is the discrepancy between the number of ballots counted and the number of voters registered and marked as present.
Vote recounting in Bogota revealed substantial differences between recorded numbers and according Noticias Uno, votes for leading party Partido de la U may have as much as doubled as a result.
Ballot recounts in the capital city may also result in political parties Verde and MIRA gaining more votes than had been previously registered.
Similar discrepancies were discovered in the coastal city of Cartagena, where political party member Pedrito Pereira accused a voting official of deliberately recording statistics erroneously on the electoral database.
He said that according to an official who was present at one of the city’s polling station, “the ballot-counter was shouting statistics and the typist wrote something different,” said Pereira.
Finally, authorities in the Colombian department of Choco have announced a number of voting irregularities during the electoral process, including instances of one official getting caught putting votes into a ballot-box and the sister of a congressman being arrested by Choco police for carrying over $37,000 on the day of the congressional election.
The detained woman has protested her arrest, however, saying that the money that she was carrying was for food and transport expenses during the election procedure.
Authorities also counted a significant difference in the number of votes recorded compared to the number of registered voters, with the numbers standing at 814 to 530 respectively in one of the department’s polling stations.
Officials in all three locations will be investigating the allegations of electoral fraud and those implicated in the illegal activity.
This follows news that the Colombian Inspector General will be opening a formal investigation into the country’s National Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez, as a result of the several irregularities that were recorded during and post Colombia’s congressional election.