For the last few weeks [leading up to] the Honduran election, no surveys of the electorate can be published. But really, the only poll that matters will take place this coming Sunday, Nov. 24. According to the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE), 5.3 million Hondurans are eligible to vote. Throughout the country, people in five thousand election centers will place their ballots for president, congress, and municipal mayor in three separate ballot boxes. What happens then? What ensures that the ballot cast is counted and reported accurately? How reliable should we expect the numbers to be? In part, what you think the answer is depends on how you assess the procedures set in place by the TSE.
Each individual ballot for president has a Mesa Electoral Receptora number, the name of the voting center, and the department printed on it. Each of these ballots also has a unique number, with the name of the municipio preprinted on it.
Each Mesa Electoral Receptora (MER) has a custodian. In previous elections the churches, through the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church Association, supplied the custodians. Most of the custodians this time around are students from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (UNAH).
Each MER has one representative, and an alternate, from each political party. Each has a president, secretary, watcher, and members, all appointed to office by the TSE. All procedural votes are by simple majority, with the president of the Mesa abstaining unless there is a tie.