On Sunday, March 1, around 50 percent of voters in El Salvador turned out to elect mayors, national deputies, and Central American Parliament (Parlacen) delegates. Previous tinkering with electoral procedure — allowing Salvadorans to choose between party lists or select individual candidates, for example — complicated and delayed the counting of votes. A long campaigning season was short on substantive proposals, failing to answer key questions: What will be done? Why? How? When will it be ready? And, above all, how much will it cost? Many candidates promised reforms that were beyond their remit as prospective officials. Dirty politics was never far from the surface, with serious debate taking a back seat to political theater and media circuses.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) definitely failed in its obligation to transmit the results on time. Almost two weeks after the elections, only unofficial results are known in most cases, provoking widespread distrust in the counting process.
In a survey conducted in late January by José Simeón Cañas University, only one out of five Salvadorans expressed confidence in the electoral process. Just 17.7 percent of those surveyed said they had some confidence in it, and 59.7 percent had little or no confidence in the upcoming elections.
Election day was an exhausting and tense marathon for TSE employees, who spent all Sunday evening and early Monday morning counting votes. It was not fair for them to undergo grueling work conditions which likely contributed to error and confusion. Elections must be improved for greater smoothness and efficiency.
Full Article: Lessons from El Salvador’s Botched Elections.