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Colombia: Election authority failed to count 1.5 million votes: observers

by Adriaan Alsema

MOE claims national registry fails to address possible causes of election crisis

Almost 1.5 million votes that were cast in Colombia’s congressional elections were omitted from the announced results, according to election observers.

National Registrar Alexander Vega said Monday that a million votes appeared in the ongoing scrutiny of the preliminary results.

Vega has blamed the discrepancy on a design flaw in the senate vote form and irregularities committed by jurors.

Alejandro Barrios, the director of the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), disputed Vega’s explanations.

That does not explain why we are talking about a difference of around 6% or 7% between what was announced and actually counted, because in other electoral processes we talk about a 0.5% difference. MOE director Alejandra Barrios

According to Barrios, the registrar failed to mention that 500 thousand votes for the House of Representatives appeared in the scrutiny on top of the million Senate votes.

In an interview with RCN Radio, the MOE director additionally suggested that the irregularities disproportionately affected the Historic Pact party of presidential candidate Gustavo Petro.

Barrios urged an audit of the software used to send results from polling stations to the National Registry and the selection process of jurors ahead of the presidential elections in May.

According to Vega, the National Registry doesn’t have the money for an audit.

The MOE director previously warned that “a crisis could break out in the country” if the irregularities are repeated in the presidential elections.

Senate President Juan Diego Gomez reiterated his call for an ad hoc registrar after Vega’s most recent announcements.

This proposal is supported by think tanks that have formed an “Electoral Oversight Alliance.”

Former President Alvaro Uribe, whose party suffered major losses in the elections, said that the irregularities cast “serious doubts over the electoral system.”

Uribe previously said that the congressional election results “can’t be accepted.”

Iroically, the former president is being investigated by the Supreme Court over his alleged attempts to rig the 2018 elections in collusion with a drug trafficking organization.