The ink on his thumbnail was supposed to be a fraud-proof deterrent, a sign that he had already voted in Haiti’s critical presidential and legislative elections. But hours after the adviser to Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council cast his ballot in the now disputed Oct. 25 vote, the indelible ink stain was barely visible, more resembling a fading birthmark than an electoral safeguard. Nearly two months after the pivotal balloting and three weeks before the scheduled Dec. 27 presidential runoff, Haiti remains at an impasse. Allegations of ballot tampering, fraudulent tabulations and widespread procedural breakdowns — such as failing ink that led to multiple voting — have fanned a widening chorus of doubt about the credibility of the results.
In the last week, calls for “truth and transparency” into the presidential results have expanded from the field of 54 presidential candidates and local election observers to human rights organizations and powerful religious leaders. On Monday, a coalition of U.S.-based diaspora organizations joined the demands, calling for the “counting of all ballots in the presence of independent observers.”
The growing demands come amid deepening concerns that the widespread mistrust and perceived partisan conduct of the nine-member election council, known as the CEP, is cementing voter apathy in a nation where increasingly less and less people believe democracy works. The risk, says some Haitian analysts, is continued instability with a weak president who is unable to consolidate parliament or create jobs because he lacks legitimacy.
“We have a population in the country who globally is not satisfied with the results,” said Mgr. Patrick Aris, spokesman for the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, which said last week that its observers deployed across the country found glaring irregularities and a marred process.