Green Alliance (Alianza Verde-AV) primary candidate Camilo Romero and declared primary winner Enrique Peñalosa both claimed that many AV ballots ran out or were absent altogether in polling stations across the country and abroad.
Even before Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Colombia’s capital city of Bogota, was chosen Sunday to represent the AV in May’s presidential race, multiple Colombian sources were saying that ballots for the AV’s primary election were missing in parts of Colombia and abroad.
Throughout election day, concerned voters were tweeting at runner-up Romero, Peñalosa, and third place candidate John Sudarsky expressing their inability to obtain ballots across Colombia and abroad.
“@CamiloRomero, In Cali also there are very few ballots. Still we managed to support our vote in favor of change. Faith in you,” tweeted one of many voters on election day.
@camiloromero en Cali tambien hay pocos tarjetones, aun asi alcanzamos a aportar nuestro voto en pro del cambio. Fe en usted.
— La Ronca de Oro (@vivi_la_mas) March 9, 2014
Romero and Peñalosa took to social media Sunday evening re-tweeting the messages as fast as they came in, while trying to alert the Election Registry and mass media about the lack of votes.
“The Election Registry did not guarantee that Colombia could vote in the @GreenAlliance survey. THERE ARE NO BALLOTS” wrote Romero as he tweeted at three of Colombia’s biggest media publications to get their attention: El Tiempo newspaper, El Espectador newspaper and Semana magazine.
— Camilo Romero (@camiloromero) March 9, 2014
“There were no ballots. I don’t know what happened. If they sent a little or what, but in all of these cases, we have made announcements,” Romero told Colombia Reports.
After the results were announced however, winner Peñalosa stopped mentioning the subject on his Twitter account, and most news affiliates have been relatively silent on the matter.
Electoral watchdog, Colombia’s Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) reported hundreds of irregularities and cases of electoral fraud on election day, and noted that there were no AV primary ballots in the polling stations of Sao Paulo, Brasil; Barcelona, Spain; and Lima, Peru.
While the Election Registry has not responded to missing ballots domestically, they did respond to MOE’s claim via Twitter explaining that primary ballots like the AV’s “only can be done on national territory.”
Las consultas internas solo pueden hacerse en el territorio nacional, esa es la explicación de que no se (cont) http://t.co/dmdOK3qFgH
— Registraduría (@Registraduria) March 10, 2014
Romero and his supporters however were still trying to call fraud and address the absence of ballots on Twitter on Monday.
“In Nariño, not only were they missing ballots for the Green Alliance survey, today there was a demand to investigate electoral fraud,” read a tweet from Romero.
En Nariño no sólo faltaron tarjetones para la consulta de la Alianza Verde, hoy se instaura demanda para que se investigue fraude electoral.
— Camilo Romero (@camiloromero) March 10, 2014
In the end, with Peñalosa winning the accounted-for ballots by a margin of 48% to Romero’s 16% (Sudarsky took away 8%), it is unlikely that these missing votes would have drastically altered the outcome of the race.
Still, Romero’s question of why there were allegedly missing ballots domestically has yet to be answered.
The AV’s primary ballot, one of four ballots intended to be distributed during the elections, was perhaps the most neglected only receiving just short of 3,000,000 valid votes. Both the Senate and the House received over 14,300,000 votes each. Even the lesser known Andean Parliament ballot collected nearly 7,000,000 votes
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