Price of a vote in Colombian elections bid up to $80 Canadian in ´combo´offer
The price of a vote in Colombia´s congressional elections this Sunday is just over $80 Canadian.
At least that is what an election watchdog has reported in a series of reports of fraud and suspicious activities.
In Medellin and surrounding areas voters willing to sell a “combo”, their vote for the House of Representatives and the Senate, can now receive up $300,000 Colombian pesos, the equivalent of $163 Canadian.
The Misión de Observación Electoral has reported candidates in the same political party are bidding the price up in competition with other candidates of the same party.
The scam denounced by an MOE investigator is what the Colombians call a “carrusel”, or in English, a merry-go-round. The voter enters the voting station and receives a blank ballot which they then exchange for a ballot which has already been marked in favor of the House of Representatives candidate and Senate candidate which are paying for the vote. The voter deposits the already marked ballot into the voting box.
The price of a vote has apparently risen rapidly as the election, now only five days away, approaches.
“Just two weeks ago, they offered 60,000 Colombian pesos, later $100,000 Colombian pesos, and now they are offering $300,000 Colombian pesos ( $163 Canadian ) for the combination for the House of Representatives and the Senate,” MOE investigator Álvaro Córdoba said in an interview published in El Colombiano.
The MOE investigator does not reveal which political party is involved in the vote-buying. He said there were members of that as yet unidentified party which complained it was becoming too difficult to purchase votes, given that the price was being bid upwards.
The MOE is an independent institution made up of a variety of Colombian social and academic groups which attempts to monitor fairness and expose corruption in Colombian elections.
The Organization of American States has announced it will send observers to the Colombian Congressional elections this Sunday.
Colombia has a long history of election fraud which has caused a chronic loss of confidence in the electoral system and contributed to politically related violence and the formation of guerrilla rebel groups.
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En Español: http://www.elcolombiano.com/BancoConocimiento/C/candidatos_pagan_hasta_300_mil_pesos_por_votos_a_camara_y_senado_en_el_valle_de_aburra/candidatos_pagan_hasta_300_mil_pesos_por_votos_a_camara_y_senado_en_el_valle_de_aburra.asp