Haiti’s last August 9 legislative elections helped calm down political tensions and resume an electoral calendar that had been delayed for three years. However, the large number of irregularities that arose marred this important democratic event.
The elections presented flaws in several facets: only 18% of the electoral registry (which comprises 5.5 million registered voters) participated; delayed results; two deceased (or up to 10, according to some sources; and there were errors in the voter lists that prevented scores of people from voting.
Political violence erupted on election day, as well as in previous days. Moreover, delays by the staff in charge of opening the polling stations gave way to numerous problems that forced authorities to announce repetition of the elections in 25 districts. Since only three deputies out of the 119 posts were elected, and none of the 20 senatorial posts were appointed, a runoff was scheduled for October 25th.
Although countries such as Brazil, Canada, Norway, and the US partially funded the process, and Venezuela made contributions to the adjustment of the National Electoral Registry, a lack of resources and poor institutionalism prevented Haiti from fulfilling the minimum requirements for a successful election.
For this reason, it is again evident that the international community must reinforce its support. Improving trust in the system is vital, and this includes holding transparent elections. For this reason, it is necessary for the country to abandon the inefficient manual voting model it has been using for decades, which aside from not being transparent is extremely expensive. It is said that the cost of the elections was $14 per voter, more than twice what it should have been.