Posted by hougansydney.com on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 Under: Elections
Many are left greatly disappointed after the first round of legislative elections that have taken place in Haiti this past Sunday August 9th, considering the high rate of irregularities observed and the violence that marred the conduct of voting operations. For example in many districts, at the very opening of many polling centers the vote could not be held or was interrupted by armed groups, sometimes with candidates, who have ransacked and destroyed voting materials.
The National Defense Network of Human Rights (RNDDH), Haiti's largest human rights organization, along with the National Observation Council (CNO) and the Haitian Council of Non State Actors (CONHANE) deployed 1,500 observers throughout the national territory of the opening of polling centers until the counting, and they have published a scathing report of numerous grave irregularities, violence and endless cases of frauds. Below is a summary of their observation on election day throughout the country.
A - Irregularities
1. Accreditation for election observers and political party agents
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has struggled to provide the different stakeholders in the electoral process, accreditation cards allowing them to have access to polling centers.
Indeed, election observers have recently received accreditation. Some others, who have not been accredited by the CEP, were content to wear a shirt with the inscription "Election Observation".
However, institutions that have nothing to do with the election observation were accredited by the POC. Among them include Mirade, MINO, MINOEH, etc ... Their observers were in fact agents of political parties. Their intervention technique was simple: monetize voters.
Furthermore, if certain political parties, favored by electoral officials, received on time, their accreditation, many others have struggled to remove them. So many officers of political parties have decided to use false mandates to access to polling centers.
It should be stressed that the mandates distributed to political parties by the CEP were of different colors. Some have received green mandates while others have received yellow.
2. Opening of the polling centers:
In most polling centers, the average time that the electoral process started is nine (9) hours. For many of these voting centers, the process started following pressure from voters who were impatient on the court and waved.
The reasons for the delays in opening voting centers are numerous. Among them, we can cite the following:
Supervisors arrived late at polling centers;
Supervisors have not presented their duty station;
Materials were sent to locations other than their place of destination;
Selected and trained office members lists were rigged before election day;
Sensitive materials were not available for the start of the process;
Polling station members were late;
Polling station members were struggling to engage the voting, required before the voting process itself, because of their disability;
Voting centers were relocated at the last hour, etc ...
3. Unsuitable Materials to vote:
Some voting materials, such as voting booths, indelible ink, ballot boxes were not suitable.
a) Voting booths
Voting booths have failed to respect the secrecy of the vote. Because of their placement on school benches on concrete blocks, cardboard boxes on or near windows, many troublemakers have influenced or attempted to influence voters;
b) indelible ink
The indelible ink spent on the finger of voters who finished voting did not appear immediately. This allowed many of them to vote multiple times;
The ballot boxes are plastic bags, transparent, very small and obviously unfit to be over four hundred (400) ballots;
B - Voting:
1. Physical space centers and polling stations
The CEP installed in the country, a total of one thousand five hundred and eight (1508) voting centers. Several of them were placed in schools. Others, in public office spaces or in public markets. However, thirty-seven (37) voting centers were installed in private homes.
Local many schools used for the poll, are often cramped and poorly lit. In some, it is dark in broad daylight, with the members of the polling stations to use their lamp.
Polling stations were juxtaposed in such a cacophony that voters had trouble identifying the office where he had to vote.
Consequently, centers and polling stations, their organization and their operation does not have the capacity, to receive the voters and allow them to vote with dignity.
2. crowds of voters:
Voters were not, in most cases, encouraged to get online. They had gathered as they could and waiting to break into the polls in a general disorder.
Also, after voting, voters remained on the court of the voting centers or in their vicinity, disrupting the elections by inviting people to vote like them. In doing so, they supported the political party representatives.
3. Intimidation, threats, violence and electoral fraud:
At the very opening of business, ie in the early morning, gunmen or not, entered the polling centers, ransacked and destroyed voting materials.
In at least 50% of the voting centers, intimidation, violence and electoral fraud were recorded. They were committed for different reasons. In some cases, it was so that the ballot boxes be washed away or stuffed. In other cases, these acts of violence were perpetrated in order to disrupt the vote and achieve the cancellation of the election process, including when the supporters of some candidates realized that they were about to lose the elections.
The fact that cases of violence were committed in the early morning is amazing because usually, they are saved in the late afternoon or at the time of closing of the polling stations.
Many officers were involved in cases of election violence. The latter, in fact, were not present to observe and defend the interests of their constituents. They had rather a mission to make every effort to steal the election.
In many cases, agents have also benefited from the complacency of members of polling stations that allowed them to stay in the polls without identification, without suits. They also benefited from the unconditional support of voters who, after voting, systematically refused to return home.
Faced with intimidation, threats, acts of violence everywhere across the country, the passivity of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) was constant. In the rare case where the police institution was required to act, it was requested by the public.
4. Security of the vote:
The HNP officers and ESA officials, who were responsible for ensuring the security of the vote were not up to the task entrusted to them. Often, cases of fraud and above electoral violence has been made in their presence.
5 - Participation of voters:
Voter turnout in the election of August 9, 2015 appears to be the lowest ever recorded since the 1987 elections This situation is related to several factors which include:
The lack of preparation of the CEP;
The absence of election candidates;
Late voter education;
Lack of time for civic education of citizens;
Irregularities in the Schedules Partial Electoral Act (SARA);
The inaccessibility of polling centers;
The non-functioning of CEP emergency numbers on election day;
The pre-election insecurity, etc ...
To illustrate the case of low voter turnout, RNDDH, the NOC and the CONHANE emphasize that in some polling stations, the number of electors who voted on the minutes was higher than that of voters who voted normally.
In general, the vote counting process was conducted transparently. However, it is at this stage that we have seen the failure of members of polling stations to differentiate between white votes, spoiled votes, invalid votes, the votes cast and the votes of 'any candidate.
It should be noted that for some voting centers, counting was not carried out despite the fact that the process has run its normal course. In other centers, the counting took place in police stations.
In conclusion, the RNDDH, the NOC and CONHANE believe that the returning 9 August 2015 was marred by serious irregularities, acts of violence and fraud.
The CEP held at all costs to make the election, regardless of the quality of these. The result is obvious: the returning Aug. 9, 2015 took place in total disrespect of Human Dignity.
It is inconceivable that a country like Haiti, which prides itself to fight for the rule of law and democracy, performs in the 21st century, elections that constitute a snag with democratic standards. It is unacceptable that the majority rule is used by the authorities to justify the bitter registered by the organization of this election failure. The mistakes 9 August 2015 should be recognized by those who are also called upon to organize the upcoming elections in order to improve what needs to be.
Moreover, there is no doubt that the returning 9 August 2015 raises the problem of legitimacy of representatives coming to the Haitian Parliament. Therefore RNDDH, the NOC and the CONHANE call all the actors involved at any level whatsoever, in the electoral process, never to trivialize the facts recorded in this election and recommend to the POC to be wary of anyone who say to him that everything went well.
The electoral body should instead do everything possible to rectify in the next election. "
In : Elections