Long lines, technical difficulties and walkouts by polling staff marred presidential elections in the Dominican Republic yesterday, a race that incumbent leader Danilo Medina is expected to win. After some polling centres opened up to two hours late, authorities in the popular Caribbean tourist destination, which is beset by widespread poverty, prolonged voting by an hour. “Given that in the morning hours there were delay problems, we are giving voters an additional hour to vote,” the head of the electoral commission, Roberto Rosario, said. The delays were due to glitches with electronic equipment and a mass resignation of some 3,000 technical assistants, Rosario said, without giving details on why the workers quit.
Medina, who is favoured to beat his seven rivals despite the country’s grinding poverty and widespread crime, called the resignations “irresponsible” as he cast his ballot at a school in the capital of Santo Domingo. “The process is taking place as normal,” he said.
Many polling centres switched to manual balloting due to issues with electronic voting, which is being used for the first time. “We are overcoming these problems, which are normal,” Rosario said. Earlier, he promised “the most transparent elections in the history of our democracy.”
But some voters were disgruntled. “I got up early because I have to work… I want to vote and couldn’t,” said Mireya de la Cruz, a tourism worker who queued at a school.