Four Honduran computer programmers watching their country’s debate over the vote count in the hotly contested presidential race decided to check the results themselves, using the power of the Internet and its many users. The idea was to show that computer technology and the Internet now mean that important information which once had to be taken on faith from the government can be verified by the public. The tech entrepreneurs, who all have studied abroad and live in the U.S., Honduras and El Salvador, went to Honduras’ official election website and downloaded scanned copies of vote tally sheets from polling stations. They then posted the sheets publicly and recruited hundreds of volunteers through social media to help check the results.
Roberto Breve, a systems engineer, said they had two goals: “To provide access to free, public information so it can be reused, and crowdsourcing — using collective power to do projects quicker and more efficiently.”
The four, who have worked together developing apps and in other ventures, say there was no political motivation. They have no party affiliation and all voted for different candidates in the Nov. 24 election.
Honduras’ electoral court last week declared National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner with 37 percent of the votes, while Xiomara Castro of the Libre Party was second with 29 percent and six other candidates shared the remaining votes. Castro has claimed fraud and she filed a formal challenge Monday, leading the tribunal to say it would recount the vote tally sheets.