The Dominican Republic awaits answers after electoral technology failures

After the May 15 general elections in the Dominican Republic, the nation once more has witnessed examples of malpractice in the implementation of electoral technology.

Following elections where irregularities where listed by local and foreign organizations, and where the failures and vices were of such magnitude that Central Electoral Board (JCE) member Eddy Olivares filed a complaint against the board, hoping to clear what happened and open a space for rectification.

For this last process, the JCE hired Spanish-based Indra Sistemas to provide biometric identification and automated voting technology. Logistic, technical and operational errors found in both the fingerprint capture devices and the vote counting machines, were alarming.

Facing this situation, Olivares asked by means of a letter for all electronic counting devices purchased from Indra which failed during the voting to be audited so a case can be constructed against the Spanish company, to have it answer for the significant damage done to the integrity of elections, the JCE’s reputation and the electoral system.

Olivares’ letter includes what the Organization of American States (OAS) stated: “…that the main fragility of the day was the use of the [voting] devices, given they were missing from several polling centres or had connectivity or operation problems, and in some other cases tech support technicians did not show up”; while the Unsaur claimed that “the material for automated voting and voter identification was, in many cases, absent, incomplete and/or defective”.

Although there were plenty of issues raised, the JCE underestimated the accusations and has not replied to Olivares, but it is clear that the board must heed the demands that several political parties have made and establish responsibilities, because what is at stake is the integrity of the nation’s electoral system and therefore its democracy.


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