With only a few reported rebel attacks, less than 20 arrests and little more than 160 fraud allegations, Colombia’s congressional elections that began at 8AM this morning are proceeding in relative calm. Police did arrest five suspects for allegedly trying to influence voters on their way to the polling stations in the southern Putumayo state, said Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon who called this year’s elections the “most secure” in Colombia’s history. Twelve more suspects were arrested at polls throughout the country, reported Colombian news agency El Tiempo. Some of the arrested were arrested for crimes related to voter fraud while others were reportedly arrested because of pre-existing warrants. Rebel groups like the FARC and ELN refrained from high-profile attacks; According to local police, FARC rebels did attack an army unit, but away from a polling station. A front of the FARC also has been blamed for preventing some residents from voting in a municipality in the state of Putumayo said El Tiempo.
Heavy rains have caused more problems for voters in parts of the central western states of Tolima and Valle de Cauca than voter fraud. The rains have caused some voters to stay indoors while flooding has caused delays in the transportation of election materials to some locations.
The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) reported Sunday that as of 11AM that it had received only 104 citizen complaints about potential electoral crimes or irregularities.
MOE said that it received a variety of complaints of voter fraud, the majority being the buying or selling of votes but also threats to voters, and political interference in the voting process. Nevertheless reports of voter fraud and irregularities reported by MOE was relatively low.