Police arrested 42 people Sunday for offenses related to Colombia’s congressional election process, according to national media reports.
Caracol Radio reported that of the 42 arrests, 17 were attributed to the bribery voters, six to fraudulent voting practices, and 19 for identification-related crimes.
According to the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), however, an independent group that monitors Colombian elections, there were a total of 858 reported incidents of electoral irregularities, 745 of which occurred between 11AM and 3PM.
Other incidents reported throughout the day included violations of press freedoms, exclusion of registered election witnesses and, in certain cases, a shortage of ballots or required informative documents.
Authorities did manage to achieve large reductions in the threat posed by illegal armed groups as compared to previous years. According to the Ministry of the Interior, there was a 90% reduction in interference from illegal armed groups during the elections.
Colombia’s Ministry of Defense touted them as ” the safest elections in history ” in a separate statement, saying that 99.4% of the country’s polling stations received assistance from the over 260,000 security forces deployed throughout the country.
Despite the improved security situation, a government priority heading into elections, the disparity in the punitive measures taken against fraud and other election crimes and their reported incidence raises longstanding questions about the fairness of elections in the country.