Colombia’s electoral authority said Monday it has cancelled hundreds of thousands of voter registrations across the country amid attempts to curb fraud in upcoming local elections.
The National Electoral Council annulled a total of 398,675 registrations after cross-referencing various data sets to find inconsistencies that often reveal fake identities. Such a high prevalence of voter registration crime can have an overwhelming effect in the upcoming elections on October 25.
While the problem was shown to be nationwide, several regions showed significantly higher rates of voter crime than others. According to the Council, the departments of La Guajira, Boyaca, Cundinamarca and Meta were found to have the worst results.
In some towns, percentages of incorrect or forged voter registrations as a fraction of the total forms submitted were higher than 50%. In other words, the majority registrations were illegally manipulated. In the town of La Jagua de Pilar in La Guajira, for example, a staggering 88.56% of voter registrations were deemed fraudulent.
Emiliano Rivera, president of the Council, noted that a relationship exists between places that already have issues with crime and higher rates of forgery.
“Where there are problems is often in places where there is illegal mining and other illegal activities by groups operating outside the law,” Rivera said.
The Vice President of the National Electoral Council, Felipe Garcia, released a statement as well, calling upon Colombia’s citizens to help in the fight against corruption in elections.
Garcia asked Colombians to use a new smartphone application that has been developed to report instances of voter fraud, asking that they act as “guardians of democracy.” The idea is that citizens are able to download the app and use it for anything from reporting to accessing publicly available campaign finance data on candidates.