Jayson was a first-time voter in the Dominican Republic, or would have been, if he’d had any intention of voting. Instead he was figuring out how to turn his ballot card into cash. In the end, the 19-year-old said he got 1,000 pesos ($22) in return for surrendering the ID during Sunday’s presidential election. Jayson had a Plan B to solicit bids — “I’ll go around with my card on my forehead” — but didn’t need to use it. His friend, Luis, 21, did even better. He said he was paid about $28 to vote for the ruling Dominican Liberation Party: “I took the money but then I just voted for who I wanted anyway.’’ As President Danilo Medina cruised toward re-election, with 62 percent of the vote according to early counts, opposition parties were crying fraud — in fact, almost everyone was. Across the country and the political spectrum, candidates said buying of ID cards and votes was rife. Local TV stations showed transactions under way right in front of polling stations.
Electoral board chief Roberto Rosario said that all parties were involved — though he said such practices “will not alter the results’’ of the various votes that took place Sunday, local and nationwide. The board had introduced new rules before the balloting to prevent fraud, and Rosario said the parties themselves have to take some of the responsibility for cleaning up the process.
Hector Olivo, director of communications for Medina’s DLP, said the group “has never been involved in those activities. So it’s really not something I can say anything about.”
On Tuesday, election monitors from the Organization of American States said in a statement they “observed masses of people around the polling stations” and “received complaints about the buying of votes and identity cards.”