Predicted voter fraud materializes as Colombian congressional elections near


Investigators said the risks were high, now the election fraud forecast for Colombia´s congressional elections is materializing.

The organization responsible for running Colombian elections and keeping them clean announced today it was cancelling almost 100,000 voters´ registrations because of irregularities, including double registration, registering of people who had moved, and other problems with information provided.

Most of the cancelled registrations ( 90,463 of 97,791 ) were because the prospective voter had registered more than once.

The Consejo Nacional Electoral said the fraud occurred in the north coast city Barranquilla, which independent investigators earlier identified as one of the regions with a high risk of election fraud.

In another fraud related development, the national prosecutor´s office announced recently it is investigating whether Cambio Radical congressional candidate José Francisco García has attempted to lure supporters by offering free houses for those who gather votes and help him win a position in the department of Córdoba, which is also in the north coast, high-risk zone.

Prosecutors said charges were being prepared against Francisco Garcia. They said as well that they were investigating another candidate who was possibly offering school supplies for supportive voters.

A separate investigation by the prosecutor´s office reportedly found evidence that mafia were using one or more campaigns to launder money gained through crime.

The Misión de Observación Electoral highlighted the increasing risks of fraud in congressional elections when it reported on its analysis of voter registration earlier this month.

The analysis found the risk of fraud is medium to extreme high in 400 of Colombia’s 1,100 municipalities. Extremely high registration possibly indicates illegal inducements to vote and extremely low registration possibly indicates illegal discouragement. In the senate elections voter fraud had increased by 38 per cent over the 2010 elections, but had fallen slightly in the congressional House of Representative elections.

The prosecutor´s office was urging officials in charge of elections to do everything possible to eliminate vote buying, manipulation of unmarked ballots and coercion.

The MOE said risks of violence are lower in this year´s congressional elections than they were in 2010. The organization also denounced the kidnapping of MIRA candidate José Gregorio Botello Ortega, who later escaped his captors.

Violence occurs against Colombian politicians, in the form of homicides, attacks, threats and kidnappings, according to a study in 2012 and early 2013.

For more information please read:

In English: http://davidhogben.com/2014/02/11/risk-of-election-fraud-rises-despite-international-perceptions-of-colombias-stable-democracy/

In Spanish: http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/frenan-fraude-atlantico-articulo-475888

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About Connecting Colombias

Recently retired newspaper reporter with one foot in British Columbia, Canada, the other in Colombia, South America. Fascinated with Colombian culture, Canadian connections, and heroic efforts to return millions of displaced Colombians to lands stolen by paramilitaries, guerrillas and organized crime.

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