An independent commission on Sunday reported that the first round of Haitian presidential elections on October 25 were “stained by irregularities” but claimed problems were not serious enough to void the poll or further delay a run-off. The panel found that poll watchers intervened to help several candidates in the October ballot, and recommended possible legal action against poll workers and others involved in a fresh blow to a country long crippled by political instability. It also urged measures to improve the transparency in the contest to choose a successor to President Michel Martelly.
Articles about voting issues in North America outside the United States.
A commission charged with evaluating Haiti’s Oct. 25 presidential and legislative elections has found that egregious irregularities and a high presumption of fraud plagued the vote, while the electoral machine requires sweeping changes in order to hold a postponed runoff. According to official results, government-backed candidate Jovenel Moïse received 32.76 percent of the votes while Jude Célestin, the former head of the state construction agency, garnered 25.29 percent. Célestin, however, called the results a “ridiculous farce” and refused to campaign. Alleging vote-rigging and ballot-stuffing, Célestin and other opposition candidates called for an independent Haitian-led commission to probe the disputed balloting. The commission was created by President Michel Martelly on Dec. 22, five days before the postponed second round. On Sunday morning, members issued their findings, which critics say do not resolve the political crisis despite pointing out a series of major systemic problems besieging Haitian society.
Canada: Federal Liberals rule out referendum on electoral reform — despite recent precedent | National Post
Justin Trudeau and his party swept into power in October’s election on a series of big promises, including a pledge 2015 would mark the last election under first-past-the-post. Since the Liberals have formed government, enacting some of those plans — whether it’s a pledge to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees or withdraw fighter jets from the battle against Syria — is turning out to be harder than expected. Now, the sunny plan to create a more democratic democracy is casting a shadow over those lofty ambitions. Despite calls from both the left and right that any changes to how Canadians elect their government require the direct input of the people, Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc said Sunday that’s not in the cards. “Our plan is not to have a national referendum, our plan is to use parliament to consult Canadians,” Leblanc said during an interview on CTV’s Question Period. “That’s always been our plan and I don’t have any reason to think that’s been changed.”
The Conservative Party is vowing to use any means necessary, including a Senate blockade, to keep the Liberal government from forcing through electoral-reform legislation without first holding a referendum. “The entire Conservative caucus, both in the House and the Senate, will be opposing any radical changes to the electoral system without a referendum” Don Plett, the Conservative Whip in the Senate, said in an interview Wednesday. “We would look at all avenues” to stop such a bill, interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said. “My hope is that the Liberals will come to their senses.” The Conservatives are up in arms over a recent declaration by Liberal House Leader Dominic LeBlanc that electoral reform, which would replace the existing first-past-the-post system of electing MPs with some form of proportional representation or a ranked ballot, will simply be passed as a law by Parliament.
Haiti: Electoral Commission Seeks to Discover If Presidential Elections Were Fraudulent | teleSUR English
An independent electoral commission in Haiti is due to deliver its report on the first round of the presidential election this Thursday amid fervent claims of electoral fraud, while it seems highly unlikely that the second round of voting will take place Jan. 3 as originally planned. Five representatives from varying religious groups and nongovernmental organizations were appointed to the commission by electoral decree in December to investigate the claims of foul play. However it seems unlikely the second round of voting will go ahead Sunday. Rosny Desroches, spokesperson for the independent electoral commission, said the commission had established a sample of 2,000 ballot tallies out of 13,000 local counts and was working to analyze them. He admitted that it would be difficult to complete the task by Wednesday, as had been mandated by presidential decree.
Haiti’s independent electoral commission was running out of time on Tuesday to study polling returns from October’s first round of presidential elections, threatening to further delay the process. In theory, the newly formed agency has until Wednesday to re-examine the first round of voting, which the opposition alleges was marred by widespread fraud, and to produce a report on the way forward. The second round had been due to go ahead on Sunday but has already been delayed indefinitely, and opposition flagbearer Jude Celestin had refused to campaign until the ballot-rigging is investigated.
The Manitoba government’s plan to revamp the electoral system could lead to a younger voting age. Premier Greg Selinger says he is keeping an open mind and awaiting consultations, but believes there are upsides to letting people under 18 cast ballots. “I think there’s even an argument to look at a lower voting age, or participation earlier. A lot of students I meet — young people — are very interested in the political process and bring a lot of good ideas,” Selinger said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.
The latest date that Haiti could hold its postponed presidential runoff to meet a constitutionally mandated hand-over of power deadline by outgoing President Michel Martelly is Jan. 17, Prime Minister Evans Paul said. But meeting that deadline will depend heavily on whether a five-member electoral evaluation commission is able to find a solution to break the political impasse, Paul acknowledged during a visit to South Florida over the weekend to attend the funeral of longtime friend and respected Haitian journalist Pharès Duverné. Duverné, who received political exile in South Florida in 2001 after fleeing Haiti amid attacks against journalists, died in an Orlando hospital on Dec. 13 of kidney failure.
The United Nations Security Council urged Haiti on Wednesday to quickly reschedule its postponed presidential election ahead off further civil unrest. The second round of voting to choose a successor to President Michel Martelly had been due to go ahead on December 27 but was cancelled after fraud allegations. The first-round of voting and the subsequent lengthy and delayed vote count was marked by street protests alleging official corruption. An “election evaluation committee” has been set up to determine a way forward, but no new date has been set for the run-off, leaving the western hemisphere’s poorest country once more in political limbo.
Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council on Monday postponed until January this Sunday’s scheduled presidential run-off election amid accusations by the opposition candidate of fraud and irregularities. “The Provisional Electoral Council informs the general public, political parties and candidates in particular, that the elections of local authorities as well as the partial legislative and presidential elections that were to be held December 27, 2015 are postponed,” the council said in a statement. Ruling party candidate Jovenel Moïse and former government executive Jude Célestin were due to face each other on Sunday. Instead, the vote will take place in January, possibly on Jan. 10, two of the council members said.