OAS, other observers say election was fair but suffered technical and organizational failures

Mar 27, 2019

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) criticized Ecuador election authorities for the crash of the website that reported election results.

On Tuesday, OAS observers delivered a preliminary report on Sunday’s election

“This is the third consecutive election in which the election commission’s website has crashed on election night,” said former Costa Rican Vice President Kevin Casas who headed the OAS delegation. “This kind of computer blackout problem should have been fixed since it deprives the public and the news media of access to election results.”

He said that the national election commission (CNE) website went down at 8 p.m. Sunday night and was not fully operational again until early Monday morning.

Casas also said that many of the election workers appeared unprepared to handle their duties at polling locations, blaming long waits on the large number of candidates on the ballot. “It appears that more, better trained workers were needed to accommodate the complexity of the election.”

Casas and observers from two other organizations added that they found no evidence of voting fraud or other incidents that would question the legitimacy of the election.

CNE president Diana Atamaint welcomed the preliminary comments by the OAS team and acknowledged the problem with website. “Obviously, we need to add band width so this does not happen again,” she said. “We are pleased that the observers agree that the election was fair and legal, which is our primary responsibility.”

Casas said that the large number of political parties and candidates added to voting delays, as did confusion about the election of members of the Citizens Participation Council (Cpccs), who were publicly elected for the first time.

“There is extraordinary fragmentation of the political process in Ecuador, with 278 recognized movements recognized by the authorities, and this contributes to extended voting times and long waits,” Casas said.

The OAS sent 35 observers from 21 countries to observe Sunday’s election.

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