Colombia’s Sunday congressional elections saw an unprecedented amount of voter fraud and vote buying, though violent pressure on voters from armed illegal groups largely abated, according to electoral observers. As the dust cleared approaching midweek after Colombia’s congressional elections, candidates were crying fraud and corruption. Former President and senator elect Alvaro Uribe called the Sunday’s elections “illegitimate” in an interview with Blu Radio; defeated presidential primary candidate Camilo Romero insisted on Twitter that ballots were missing across the country; and presidential candidate Aida Avella told Colombia Reports that “money,” not votes, guaranteed candidates congressional seats this past weekend. MOE spokesperson Fabian Hernandez told Colombia Reports subsequently that “we have never received this many complaints about election fraud” since the organization’s foundation in 2007.
MOE’s National Legal Coordinator Camilo Mancera clarified exactly what the electoral watchdog found and illustrated problem areas to be tackled moving forward.
“We received 1,100 reports of electoral irregularities during the electoral process, of which the large majority consisted of vote buying and prohibited publicity,” Mancera explained to Colombia Reports.
Vote buying is rather self explanatory — the selling or buying of votes is strictly forbidden — and prohibited publicity includes advertisements of particular parties or candidates inside the voting polls.