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Ecuador News

Election council revises voting rules, removing some U.S. and Canadian expats from voter roles

Ecuador’s National Electoral Council (CNE) is proposing changes to the country’s voter eligibility rules, one of which would require all voters to have a valid cedula. Under current rules, voters can show expired cedulas or other forms of identification if they appear on voter registration roles.

President Lenin Moreno votes in the February referendum election.

The CNE says it is also reviewing voting requirements for foreign residents, saying that in the past some foreigners have been allowed to vote who did not meet the legal requirements. According to CNE member Jose Cabrera, 50,023 foreigners have been removed from voter rolls, including several hundred North Americans.

Cabrera said that changes to voter registration requirements must be approved by the National Assembly and will not go into effect until after the March 2019 elections. “Everyone who voted in previous elections, no matter what the circumstances, will be allowed to vote in March,” she said.

The CNE is conducting an audit of registration rolls but estimates that as many as 500,000 voters do not have current cedulas. “Most of these people will still be allowed to vote but they must first update their records with the Civil Registry office,” Cabrera said.

Of the foreigners who have been purged from voter roles, 36.4% are Colombians, 11.9% are Peruvians and 11.7% are Cubans. “Legal foreign residents are allowed to vote in Ecuadorian elections and this will not change,” says Cabrera. “We have discovered, however, that some foreigners were voting who did not meet the requirements, which is the fault of voting officials.”

To be eligible to vote, a foreigner must be 16 years old and have beena legal resident for five years, he said.

According to CNE records, 477 U.S. citizens and 139 Canadians have been removed from voter registration lists.