By Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Dec. 2, 2016
The Haiti Justice Update sent on Wednesday did not adequately acknowledge the problems with Haiti’s November 20 elections. Although we do believe the voting was an improvement over the October 25, 2015 elections, there were still significant problems with the voting that call the results into question, as we have documented on our blog, twitter feeds and media interviews, including:
- a distressingly low turnout, of 21%. The turnout is evidence of both short-term problems with this year’s registration and voting, and long-term effects of what my colleague Mario Joseph calls “voter exclusion” that we have documented and advocated against in elections in 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2015. For a comparison, this year’s declared winner, Jovenel Moise, won 595,000 votes, while in 2000 the winning candidate, Jean-Bertrand Aristide received 2,600,000 votes (over 2 ½ times the total for the top 4 candidates this year);
- problems with people who were registered to vote, many who even had their names posted on the lists outside the voting center, but were told inside that their name was not on the list, or were referred to voting centers far from their home. The telephone lines for voters to report and correct these problems functioned poorly all day;
- problems with the voting tabulation process, including unexplained delays, and the refusal of 3 of the 9 Electoral Council members to sign the results;
- marked ballots discovered on the street; and
- a high number of votes excluded for technical reasons.
These problems have generated substantial opposition to the election results in Haiti. There have been daily demonstrations in the streets, and reports of illegal and brutal police responses to the protests. The second, third and fourth place finishers under the official results have rejected them, and have filed formal challenges.
At IJDH, we believe that a prompt, credible and thorough investigation of these problems needs to be made before any election results are accepted, and will continue to advocate to that end.
I would like to thank IJDH’s friends who brought this mistake to our attention, and to apologize to everyone for our failure to live up to our standards for credibility and reliability. Amongst a rush of work around the cholera case developments, we did not follow our usual review procedures, and I take personal responsibility for that.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, and please follow our ongoing election rights advocacy!
Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)
Posted Dec. 2, 2016