Independent researchers claim that widespread fraud took place in the May 30 first round of Colombia’s presidential elections, after comparing the vote counts from individual polling stations with those published on the website of the National Registry.
A group on Facebook compared the handwritten voting results from the polling stations with the official results on the Registry’s website. Photos of more than a thousand cases where the official numbers are different than those on the polling station slips are shown on the social media website. This accounts for 1.5% of the total “mesas” in the first round.
The photos of the handwritten results from each table, which were written on a form called the E-14, can be downloaded from the Registry´s website.
When group members find differences between the E-14 and the official results from a particular table they make an image with both results and post them in the Facebook group´s photo album.
Checks by media show that in other cases the results of other candidates were affected both positively and negatively, which makes it impossible to determine which candidate benefited from the alleged fraud.
“Cual primera vuelta” has already grown from 8,000 members Wednesday afternoon to more than 36,000 members in the first hour of Thursday.
The Facebook group does not reveal how many polling stations were scrutinized, and in how many cases no fraud was established.
In response to the controversy, the Registry claims that the volunteers are comparing preliminary E-14 forms with final election result tables.
According to Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez, the final results are different from those taken from the website by independent monitors, because the data is given via telephone and miscommunication between officials speaking over the phone can occur.
The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), a Colombian NGO monitoring the elections, announced it will investigate the alleged fraud and urged official electoral authorities to do the same.