Colombia’s Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) has so far received a total of 59 complaints of voting irregularities from citizens taking part in the country’s presidential elections, according to a report released by the independent observer body Sunday.
The report, the first of several scheduled to be sent out over the course of the first round election, chronicles such alleged problems as a lack of “necessary” support from government authorities at electoral booths, absence of electoral jurors at polling tables, and claims of illegal political propaganda being disseminated outside polling stations.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
Of the tables inspected directly by the MOE, 75% reportedly had infringed on electoral protocol by opening voting envelopes before the electoral boxes had been sealed.
Additionally, the organization found 24% of the voting tables observed by their members lacked the six electoral jurors — who hand out electoral forms and check the registered names of voters — necessary, according to the regulations imposed by Colombia’s National Registrar’s Office.
A total of 17 complaints of political propaganda at polling stations, outlawed by a decree issued by Colombia’s Ministry of Interior prior to the elections, were received by the MOE.
The organization called on all political parties to adhere to the electoral laws, after finding that 55% of electoral witnesses at voting stations wore or showed political “symbols that alluded to particular campaigns,” an act also against regulations.
Eight complaints detailed problems in entering polling stations, with other reports signalling defective “electoral material” or complete lack of ballots or instructional guides. Additionally, voting stations in municipalities across five states reportedly lacked the electoral support required by the authorities.
MOE, which seeks to increase transparency and assure voting rights during Election Day, has electoral observers located in 437 municipalities across 31 states throughout Colombia.
Inspector General’s Office counts 48 irregularities
In addition to the MOE report, Colombia’s Inspector Generals Office has received 48 complaints regarding electoral irregularities.
According to the office, the majority of complaints have occurred in Bogota as well as the states of Antioquia, Quindio, Valle del Cauca and Caldas, and deal mostly with political involvement of public officials, candidate propaganda, and incompetence among electoral jurors.
— Procuraduría General (@PGN_COL) May 25, 2014
“Pilas con el Voto”
Figures shown by the MOE-run “Pilas con el Voto” website, which tracks reports in real time, tell a different picture. According to the website, there have been at least 302 incidents reports in the country.
Of the complaints received, 133 were against electoral administrators, 81 against propaganda, and 46 pertained to the “freedom of the vote.”
Pilas con el Voto does not assess the validity of these claims before making them public, and further official updates from the MOE are expected throughout the day.
Polls in Colombia close officially at 4PM, while final results are expected by no later than 10PM.
- PRIMER INFORME MISIÓN DE OBSERVACIÓN ELECTORAL MOE – MEDIO DÍA (MOE Press Release)
- Primer reporte: 48 denuncias ha recibido la Procuraduría General de la Nación durante la mañana de la jornada electoral en Colombia (Inspector General’s Office Press Release)
- Pilas con el Voto (Website)