Nearly 8,000 voting stations during last Sunday’s congressional elections failed to report votes for former President Alvaro Uribe’s political party, according to a party-led investigation released Wedenesday.
With eight seats in the House of Representatives and 19 in the Senate, the recently formed Democratic Center party (Centro Democratico) emerged as the largest opposition bloc in Congress following Sunday’s elections. Still, the party claims that 250,000 “duly deposited” votes for its ticket went unreported, a number garnered from a party audit of the national electoral registry documents.
“Of the total 97,414 voting tables [in Colombia], the reporting of votes obtained by the Democratic Center in 7,971 [tables] nationwide and [international] consulates did not occur,” according to the report.
With 80% of the total votes counted, the Democratic Center’s closed ticket — one in which voters can only select the entire ticket, rather than individual candidates — was leading all parties. The report claims that the dramatic turnaround that followed the release of results Bulletin 17 on election night and saw the Democratic Center lose several seats in Congress, including two in the Senate, was the product of an active conspiracy to deprive the party of votes.
The results of the audit highlight irregularities in a number of areas around the country, including within the city of Medellin, traditionally a pro-Uribe stronghold, where allegedly 66 voting tables failed to report 2,604 Democratic Center votes.
Additionally, the investigation alleges that a number of candidates from other parties had received more votes than were actually deposited by voters — including candidates of the Conservative party who were allocated 50 votes from a voting station in the state of Atlantico when only 30 had been reported.
According to the party, the investigation was carried out by a team of “systems engineers, telecommunications specialists, lawyers and managers of companies specializing in campaigns.”
Even prior to the report’s release, however, party leader and now Senator-elect Alvaro Uribe accused President Juan Manuel Santos and his U Party (Partido de la U) of winning an “illegitimate” election through corruption and voter intimidation tactics. An analysis of the reported incidents of voter intimidation seems to discredit these claims, as many of the stations where the alleged crimes were committed turned in favorable results for Uribe and the Democratic Center, sending local congressmen to the House, for example.
The results of the audit will now be handed into the Inspector General’s Office and the Prosecutor general’s office, as well as the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE).
The Registrar General’s Office, which oversees elections in Colombia, could not be reached for comment at the time of this article’s publication.
- Comunicado (Democratic Centre Press Release)