Colombia’s Electoral Registry, responsible for running the nation’s elections, dismissed former President Alvaro Uribe‘s party’s claim that hundreds of thousands of votes were not awarded to him during Sunday’s congressional elections, saying that the pre-count does not have “legal value.”
Uribe’s Democratic Center party (Centro Democratico-CD) published a scathing press release Wednesday accusing the Electoral Registry of failing to award them nearly 250,000 votes due to instances of fraud or electoral tampering, according to his party’s own investigative team.
The Electoral Registry took to Twitter and Colombian media late Wednesday to respond to the allegations with two simple though straightforward points: what was made public was just a pre-count, which does not have any legal standing; and there is a system in place to make complaints that addresses these issues.
The Electoral Registry prefaced its response by noting that its already established “transparency measures” allowed for all “parties, political movements, and significant citizen groups to be able to publicly oversee the preliminary results of the Congressional elections, which is what the Democratic Center referred to in its Wednesday communication,” according to El Espectador newspaper.
This prologue added that the registry’s aforementioned measures enabled the Uribistas to access and compare any results in the first place.
The Electoral Registry began its first point saying simply that any possible inconsistencies that came up in the pre-count — which they acknowledged could very well have occurred — are “irrelevant from the legal point of view because this process does not have legal value.”
The pre-count, which was given Sunday night after voting earlier in the day, is used as a guideline to inform the public of the results, and the majority of the votes are reviewed after for the official tally.
“[The pre-count] has a informative value, so that the citizens know the results but it does not have legal value, given that the Electoral Code establishes that the recount will be based in [certain electoral] formulas that can be found publicly on our website, www.registraduria.gov.co, endorsed by the voting judges that determine how many votes each candidate obtained,” said the registry in an authoritative if not passive aggressive way.
The second point, which was reiterated multiple times throughout El Espectador’s interview with the registry, who could not be reached for comment by Colombia Reports, said that there is a clear and well established process to handle these types of complaints that works.
There exists a commission dedicated to electoral scrutiny and verification made up of Colombian judges, notaries and Registries of Public Instruments, and this commission proceeds forward with a recount process.
In the same vein, the movement will be able to take control and send the corresponding complaints to the established commissions made up of judges of the republic, Notaries and Registries of Public Instruments, that will push forward the recount process.
“The correction of possible errors committed by electoral jurors is in the hands of the judges of the republic,” read a tweet and corresponding article from the Electoral Registry.
En manos de jueces de la república y testigos electorles está la corrección de posibles errores cometidos por jurados http://t.co/uDRwyHqaId
— Registraduría (@Registraduria) March 12, 2014
Finally, the registry addressed an accusation from the CD that the party’s technical research team was not allowed “to carry out audits and tests on the recount system, which is ordered by law and was solicited since February 26 anticipating this grave anomaly,” read the CD’s statement.
The Electoral Registry said that on March 6, they had a meeting with representatives of all parties and political movements in the headquarters of the Center for Processing District Data, in order to resolve suggested procedural and technical problems of the electoral and recount processes.
During said meeting, there were minutes showing evidence that “100% of the issues and questions brought up about the formulas were resolved,” according to El Espectador.
The Inspector General of Colombia asked to initiate the recount process late Wednesday night.
- Medidas de transparencia que implementó la Registraduría permiten a los partidos y movimientos políticos realizar veeduría en resultados preliminares de elecciones 2014 (Electoral Registry)
- Registraduría desmintió acusaciones del Centro Democrático (El Espectador)
- COMUNICADO (Democratic Center Press Release)