A digital dark arts campaign by mercenary hackers helped Enrique Peña Nieto win Mexico’s 2012 presidential election, according to an imprisoned Colombian hacker who says he was involved. Andrés Sepúlveda, an online campaign strategist, claimed he had also helped to manipulate elections in nine countries across Latin America by stealing data, installing malware and creating fake waves of enthusiasm and derision on social media. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Colombian – who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence – boasted of his ability to hack into campaign networks and manipulate opinion. “My job was to do actions of dirty war and psychological operations, black propaganda, rumours – the whole dark side of politics that nobody knows exists but everyone can see,” the 31-year-old told Bloomberg.
Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.
It was just before midnight when Enrique Peña Nieto declared victory as the newly elected president of Mexico. Peña Nieto was a lawyer and a millionaire, from a family of mayors and governors. His wife was a telenovela star. He beamed as he was showered with red, green, and white confetti at the Mexico City headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had ruled for more than 70 years before being forced out in 2000. Returning the party to power on that night in July 2012, Peña Nieto vowed to tame drug violence, fight corruption, and open a more transparent era in Mexican politics. Two thousand miles away, in an apartment in Bogotá’s upscale Chicó Navarra neighborhood, Andrés Sepúlveda sat before six computer screens. Sepúlveda is Colombian, bricklike, with a shaved head, goatee, and a tattoo of a QR code containing an encryption key on the back of his head. … He was watching a live feed of Peña Nieto’s victory party, waiting for an official declaration of the results. When Peña Nieto won, Sepúlveda began destroying evidence. He drilled holes in flash drives, hard drives, and cell phones, fried their circuits in a microwave, then broke them to shards with a hammer. He shredded documents and flushed them down the toilet and erased servers in Russia and Ukraine rented anonymously with Bitcoins. He was dismantling what he says was a secret history of one of the dirtiest Latin American campaigns in recent memory.
More than two months after its contested presidential runoff was postponed amid escalating opposition protests, Haiti has taken a significant step toward resuming the process. Provisional President Jocelerme Privert issued a presidential order late Tuesday, naming nine new members to a re-established Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) charged with organizing a second round to elect a president and complete parliament. “It is still up to us to support this body, which will need to analyze the process before deciding how to revive it to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders,” Privert said the day before as he welcomed a new caretaker government and prime minister, and announced his intentions to officially name the council known as the CEP. The order was published after the newly-installed government ended its first council of ministers meeting. The entire government, including Privert and interim Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, signed the three-page document in hopes of boosting transparency, and giving the new CEP the needed political clout to embark on the difficult task of seating a democratically-elected president in Haiti after a disputed electoral process.
Canada: Financial fears prompt Halifax to seek back-up for electronic voting in 2016 elections | Metro News
Halifax Regional Municipality is looking for a back-up company to handle telephone and electronic voting in the next municipal election after fears that the company that holds the contract is financially unstable. A tender posted online Thursday seeks bids from companies that could administer telephone and e-voting for October’s 2016 municipal and school board elections, and any special elections after that till April 2020. But the winning bidder’s services will only be needed if the company that already has a standing offer — Dartmouth-based Intelivote — is unable to do the job.
A final count of the votes cast in Thursday’s general elections in Jamaica has concluded with the main opposition Jamaica Labor Party unseating the ruling People’s National Party by a narrow margin. Jamaica Labor Party candidates won 32 of the 63 constituencies, while the People’s National Party won 31, the Electoral Office of Jamaica said in a statement. It is expected to communicate the final election results to Governor-General Patrick Allen.
Jamaican reservist soldiers reinforced security at electoral offices on Monday after a final count of votes cast in last week’s general election narrowed the winning party’s majority to one seat in the heavily indebted Caribbean nation. The opposition Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) was declared the victor of Thursday’s closely fought election but after a second count authorities stripped it of one seat, reducing it to 32 of 63 seats. One more constituency remains to be recounted. The tight election reflects division about Jamaica’s economy, with the winners promising low taxes and job after years of austerity under an IMF program. The ruling People’s National Party was credited by many with restoring economic order.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has pleaded for supporters of both major political parties to maintain calm as the recount of ballots continues, following last week’s general election. With reports of tension in some areas across the island, the prime minister has appealed to supporters of both parties to remain calm. Electoral officials yesterday indicated that the recount of ballots for St Thomas Western was relocated to Kingston as a precautionary measure.
Jamaica’s opposition narrowly won a general election on Thursday, with its message of deep tax cuts and massive job creation winning over voters weary of years of tough IMF-mandated austerity measures. The Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) led by Andrew Holness had won 33 of the 63 seats with almost all votes counted, according to the electoral council website. Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller’s party took 30 seats. The sound of airhorns filled the JLP’s headquarters in Kingston as a jubilant crowd of supporters in the party’s signature green waved flags and partied to dancehall music, including a song called “Bye bye Portia, bye bye”.
Canada: Voting-machine salesman barred from contacting city hall over lobbying infringement | Ottawa Citizen
An American voting-machine salesman has been barred from contacting anyone at Ottawa City Hall for a month, the city’s integrity commissioner announced Tuesday, imposing his first discipline ever under Ottawa’s lobbying rules. Bill Murphy is the director of sales for Boston-based Clear Ballot, which sells equipment for running elections. Integrity commissioner Robert Marleau has forbidden Ottawa’s city government from having anything to do with him until mid-March, on the grounds that Murphy lobbied the city to buy Clear Ballot’s machines and software without registering as a lobbyist as the city’s bylaws require. The city’s lobbying registry has been in effect since September 2012. If you’re trying to get the city to make a decision that’s to your financial benefit, generally speaking, you need to record any contacts with city officials using a website Marleau oversees.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has the election on Sunday of Joselerme Privert as the interim President of Haiti. Privert’s election by the National assembly comes one week after the departure of former President Michel Martelly. Opposition parties had boycotted the second round of elections to on January 24 to elect a successor to Martelly, accusing the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and Martelly of wanting to rig the polls in favour of the government backed candidate. “This election stems from the agreement signed on February 6 between Haitian stakeholders to preserve institutional continuity and further the electoral process,” according to a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.