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Haiti - Elections : Some key pages from the final report of the OAS
22/01/2011 06:59:13

Haiti - Elections : Some key pages from the final report of the OAS
We publish an extract of the final report of the expert mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) - pages 12 to 20 - as submitted to the Government of Haiti. Do not forget that apart from recommendations related to methods to be implemented to avoid, as far as possible the problems encountered in the first round, The results contained in this report refer to checks made at the tabulation center and does not take into account the outcome of the litigation stage to come. THIS IS NOT THE PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RESULTS OF THE FIRST ROUND OF ELECTIONS. Only the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) at the end of the process of disputes (litigation stage) will be able to publish the final results of the first round, results which could be different.

It is useful to recall, to avoid giving a different meaning to these results, or jump to hasty conclusions and unfounded on the report of the Mission of the OAS, the remark made Monday by José Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General "Only after the dispute period, during which the complaints of the candidates will be studied, that the final results of the November 28 elections will be published" and those of Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive "the final outcome, which will help to determine who will be first, second, third, fourth or fifth can be determined only at the end of the litigation process, so that's what it is today, there is a report that has made an evaluation on a tabulation center with recommendations on this tabulation that will be handed to the CEP, which will examine these recommendations and at the same time there is a contentious phase, saw the small gap between different candidates, which can effectively create, as suggested by the report, changes in the classification"

Extracts the Final Report of the OAS (pages 12 to 20)

FINAL REPORT
Expert Verification Mission of the Vote Tabulation of the November 28,
2010 presidential Election in the Republic of Haiti


VI. ELECTORAL VERIFICATION FINDINGS

For the purposes of this Expert Mission, an "electoral irregularity" is defined as the purposeful or erroneous violation of official electoral procedures resulting in the disputed validity of voted ballots. electoral documents, or voter eligibility and, as a consequence, electoral results. Keeping in mind the relevant provisions of the Haitian Electoral Law, the Expert Mission noted the following kinds of irregularities in its verification process:

1. Absence of PVs, voter lists, tally sheets and other supporting documents to record incidents and irregularities in the sachets.

2. Absence of required signatures on the PVs or the tally sheets.

3. Alterations (an attempt to change the results on the PV) versus corrections, which did not change results.

4. The absence of written CIN numbers on the voter lists indicating that an elector had voted.

5. Irregular patterns when recording CIN numbers (e.g. the first few pages completely full of electors who voted with the remaining pages blank.)

6. Invalid CIN numbers confirmed by using a bar code scanner linked to the national voter registry.

From the analysis of the information obtained from these sources. the Expert Mission made the following findings:

1. As the participation rate and total number of votes for the winning candidate increases. so too does the probability of irregularities and fraud

2. When compared to the total field of candidates. the irregularities impacted two candidates in palticular. (See table below.)

3. Given that most of the irregularities were found on source documents coming from polling stations, the Expert Mission must conclude that most of the irregularities and fraud emanated from the polling stations.

4. At the Tabulation Center, however. the Legal Control Unit's inconsistent practices and ambiguous lines of authority contributed to the uncertainties surrounding the validity of the preliminary results.

In recommending remedies to address these irregularities, the Expert Mission identified four options for consideration:

1. Conduct a new nationwide election

2. Conduct a new election in certain problematic locations.

3. Conduct a nationwide recount of presidential ballots.

4. Review those PVs in the particularly problematic areas, as identified by voter participation and vote total for a single candidate. and disallow those that do not comply with Articles 171 and 173.2 of the electoral code of Haiti.

The option to conduct a new national election was ruled out. As it pertains to the presidential election, which is the focus of the Expert Mission's mandate. the irregularities identified most profoundly affected the candidacies of the first, second and third place presidential candidates in the first round. The Expert Mission believes that a new election would involve more contests and candidacies than the evidence warranted.

The Expert Mission has ruled out the option of organizing a presidential election in selected areas for similar reasons.

The Expert Mission does not consider a nationwide recount of presidential ballots as a feasible option. The Electoral Law of Haiti does not have explicit provisions to conduct a physical recount of ballots. According to Haitian legislation, the PVs serve as the final accounting of election results and the basis for any recalculation ofthe preliminary outcomes.

The Expert Mission therefore proceeded with the option of verifying the preliminary results by way of the visual verification of a large number of PVs in order to determine whether the preliminary results reflected the will of the people.

In accordance with the provisions of the electoral law, the Expert Mission set specific criteria to determine if a PV should be included: the presence of the required signatures of the polling officials on the Proces-Verbal; the presence of the list of registered voters; the presence of the CIN numbers to identify those voters who cast their ballots at that particular polling station, The Mission also took into account the validity of the CIN numbers. In addition, though not part of the electoral law, if a Proces-Verbal had been obviously altered to change the results that PV was also excluded.

Following the second "red flag'" utilized by the LCU in the Tabulation Center, the Expert Mission reviewed those PVs where any single candidate received more than 150 votes or more, Because of the statistically significant patterns demonstrated in the national sample, it reviewed and evaluated all 205 PVs with a turnout of SO percent and above and the previously mentioned candidate total. Every single one of the 11B PVs with a participation rate that exceeded 100 percent was reviewed, irrespective of the candidate vote total. Other PVs reviewed in the national sample that had participation rates lower than 50 percent and candidate totals lower than 150, were also recommended to be disallowed if they did not meet the abovementioned criteria.

A. Major Finding and Recommendation

The Expert Mission found 234 of the PVs did not meet the criteria previously mentioned. Based on these findings, the Expert Mission recommends that these Proces-Verbaux, listed as an appendix to this report (Appendix VI). be excluded from the final vote tally.

The table below shows the impact of disallowing these irregular PVs on vote totals for each presidential candidate when these criteria are applied compared with the officially reported election results from the CEP.



In compliance with its mandate to produce findings and recommendations, the above voting figures resulting from the verification exercise undeltaken by the OAS Expert Verification Mission are recommended to the CEP to inform its decision on the certification of the preliminary results of the presidential elections and the ranking of the three leading candidates, In terms of the number of votes received. should this recommendation be implemented, the placement of the second and third candidates will be reversed and bring the preliminary results of the presidential elections in line with the intent of the voters who cast their votes.

The implementation of the recommendation of the OAS Expert Verification Mission by the CEP should be included as part of the statutory process of contestation for a legal hearing of disputes so that a final result for the first round of the presidential elections can be certified.

VII. OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

In order to improve the integrity of polling and tabulation in the second round of voting, the CEP can consider instituting the following policy and administrative improvements

A. Polling Station Administration

1. It is essential to reinforce the training of the polling staff in order to guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in the PV transmitted to the CTV and avoid the irregularities noted during the examination of PVs and to include the supporting documentation. Poll worker training should emphasize the proper search techniques on the voter registry in identifying the names of voters. vote tabulation procedures. and the proper completion and inclusion of electoral documents in the sachet. Attendance at the training sessions should be mandatory and a senior officer from the Tabulation Center should be present at the training of trainers to improve the quality of the information recorded on the PV and other material included in the sachet.

2. In order to improve the accuracy of accounting for ballots cast and voters. the record of voting by Political Party Agents ("mandataires") and poll workers not on the voters list of the polling station where they officiate should be documented and accounted for on a dedicated Proces-Verbal

3. Further. the President, Vice-President. and Secretary of the polling stations should not only be required to list their names on the PV, but also sign the form for authentication. The PV may require a change in format to accommodate these signatures.

4. Improved training should be provided for the "Agents de Securite Electorale (ASE)" to better prepare them in polling station security and conflict management. This training should include establishing communication protocols among the ASE, Haitian National Police, and MlNUST AH for rapid responses to security incidents, Poll workers should receive better training in electoral security incident documentation and reporting

5. The performance of poll workers employed at stations where irregularities occurred should be reviewed. Those individuals who served in polling stations where the malfeasance occurred should not be re-employed for the second round, Similarly. the PVs yield the evidence that in some cases entire polling centers were subject to irregularities. In those cases. the polling center supervisors should not be re-employed for the second round

6. Numbering the names of voters on the partial list in each polling station would also facilitate the identification of the names of voters by the poll workers.

B. Tabulation Center Administration

The Expert Mission focused its efforts and activities in the CTV. Its two chief deficiencies concerned the lack of clear criteria for determining the validity of the Proces-Verbal and for assessing the impact of the absence of complementary documentation. To this end. the Expert Mission provides the following recommendations.

1. The Legal Control Unit should continue using the specific criteria defined by the Mission of experts to determine if a PV should be included: the inclusion of the required signattlres of the polling officials on the Procf's­Verbal: the presence of the list of registered voters; the presence of the CIN numbers to identify those voters who cast their ballots at that particular polling station. In addition, though not part of the electoral law, if a Proces­Verbal had been obviously altered to change the results that PV should also be excluded.

2. A clear chain of authority should be established for the examination of those PVs. which after the first review. remain in doubt as to their validity. This chain should include lawyers with particular knowledge of the electoral law

3. Additional recommendations should include:

a) The CTV should formalize the Manual of Operations and have it approved by the CEP thereby giving it a statutory base. This manual would improve the quality control measures through greater consistency. uniformity and thoroughness in the application of the verification criteria. Likewise, it could take steps to improve the organization of the chain of visual verification process with practical measures to isolate the results sheets being worked on from those already verified and those awaiting verification.

b) The CTV should be provided with sufficient resources to open during the visual verification process a larger number of sachets in order to check for the statutory presence of the voters lists and tally sheets. Without such documents, the PVs should be sent for further investigation bytheLCU

c) The CTV should employ scanners to create an electronic log of the image of the PVs received. By creating PDF copies. the PV can be posted on the CEP web site for public inspection and transmitted electronically when required. By initiating the scanning capability at the Tabulation Center, the basic technology will be put into place which could then be expanded downward to Electoral Departmental Offices (Bureaux Electoraux Departementaux, BED), Electoral Communal Offices (Bureaux Electoraux Communaux. BEC), and even voting centers in future elections.

d) The resources for the Tabulation should be increased so that the PV tabulation completion time can be reduced from its current ten days.

e) International and domestic election monitors should be permitted to observe all of the activities of the CTV including the intake of sachets. initial inspection procedures, the organization of PV for tabulation as well as the various stages of the verification process

C Legal Control Unit (LCU)

1. Strengthen the training provided to the LCU lawyers. in particular with regard to the voting and tabulation processes.

2. A mechanism of accountability for the work being performed by the lawyers should be put in place in order to ensure a quality control of the legal verification of irregular PVs

3. Information on PVs verified. even if they were not set aside, should be made public.

4. Provide a larger cadre of trained lawyers in order to increase the volume of verification undertaken.

5. The LCU attorneys should be provided with improved office facilities and equipment to facilitate better document control. processing, and organization.

D. Provisional Electoral Council

1. The CEP should expand the incoming call capacity of the Emergency Call Center so that security responses to intimidation, threats, and attacks at polling stations can be effectively organized.

2. For improved ballot control and accountability, the CEP should print ballots with numbered counterfoils. This procedure should allow poll workers to reconcile ballots cast with voter ttlrnout enhancing the integrity of the tabulation figures on the PVs.

3. The CEP should improve the format of the PV form to reflect the following changes:

a) The official copy of the form should not be white as this copy is easier to fraudulently reproduce;

b) The total votes from all the candidates should be placed at the bottom of the of the tally column:

c) The form should contain space for the signattlre of all polling staff and political party agents.

4. The CEP and the Office of National Identification need to better coordinate their registration activities in order to avoid the dispersal of voters from the same household over two or several distant polling stations.

E. International Community

1. The number of international observers should be increased for the second round and deployed in greater numbers at the polling locations where irregularities were identified in the first round as a deterrent to fraud

2. The OAS Expert Verification Mission has identified polling locations where violence occurred and voting was disrupted, Such patterns of electoral violence provide the international community with a map of '"hot spot'" locations where the probability of a repetition of such violence exists. Therefore, in these areas where polling stations are designated as '"hot spots;' the international observation presence can be more robust and the presence of MINUSTAH forces can be reinforced in support of the Haitian National Police.

VIII. CONCLUSION

The 2010 presidential election was the fifth conducted since the adoption of the Haitian constitution in 1987. While the OAS Expert Verification Mission has identified significant irregularities, which it believes influenced the outcome of the first round of the presidential election, the Haitian electorate should regard the first round of the presidential elections as an oppOltunity to draw lessons for the futtlre. In learning from the shortcomings and irregularities which marred these elections, a number of measures can be implemented which would, in the short and long term, avoid the repetition of these failings and strengthen the process. Such reforms and improvements can become a major step forward in reinforcing the integrity. transparency and legitimacy of the electoral process as the true and faithful expression of the will of the people.

See also :
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2153-haiti-elections-official-position-of-the-cep-on-the-oas-report.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2101-haiti-elections-key-pages-from-the-draft-report-of-the-oas.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2111-haiti-elections-rene-preval-very-annoyed-by-the-report-of-the-oas.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-2131-haiti-elections-the-united-states-supports-the-report-by-the-oas-experts.html

HL/ HaitiLibre

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