Wednesday, March 04, 2015

#EpicFail or Sabotage?

I think if there were a hashtag to describe the work of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in El Salvador since Sunday's elections it would be #EpicFail.  Three days after the elections, no results have been announced, and a "final scrutiny" of the vote tally sheets is just beginning.  It might take as long as two weeks before there are results.

From the TICO Times:
 The delays are fueling suspicions and stoking harsh criticism toward the country’s voting authority, the Supreme Electoral Tribune (TSE)... 
El Mundo, one of the country’s morning newspapers, wrote Tuesday in an editorial that the TSE had failed all tests regarding the vote count.  “Chaos…has reached such a level that not even when votes were counted by hand was there as much delay as there is now,” the paper wrote.  The editorial also criticized the electoral authorities for what it said was a lack of communication with the public regarding problems with the vote count.
David Morales, El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsman, told the daily La Prensa Gráfica that the situation was “serious” and “regrettable” but discarded the possibility of fraud.  He said the TSE and the company hired to tabulate the votes were jointly responsible for the problems. 
La Prensa Gráfica noted that the TSE carried out two test tallies prior to the election, and that both were failures.
Trying to deflect the mounting criticism, the head of the TSE, Julio Olivo, claimed that there was evidence that the system to divulge preliminary vote results had been sabotaged.  From Reuters:
(Reuters) - Results for El Salvador's bungled legislative and mayoral vote will not be available for another 14 days, the president of the country's electoral authority said on Wednesday, blaming the delay on "sabotage." 
Salvadorans on Sunday voted for 84 new lawmakers and mayors who will be in office for the next four years. But three days after the election, there are still no results. 
"There was sabotage in the transmission of electronic votes and we are going to present it in court and lots of people will be fired," the president of the electoral authority, Julio Olivo, said at a news conference, adding that he would provide more details on Thursday. 
Despite the problems, Sunday's election was deemed transparent by international observers, and there have been no accusations of political fraud.
Despite the problems at the TSE, the political parties were able to use their own copies of the vote tally sheets to determine most of the winners of elections for mayor.   ARENA holds the greatest number of mayor's offices, followed by the FMLN with the smaller parties far behind.   Interestingly, both ARENA and FMLN had net losses of municipalities compared to their totals in 2012.

El Faro has this graphic showing the distribution of power at the municipal level:


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