Haiti: Elections officials refuse vote verification | Miami Herald

Haitian elections officials are rejecting requests to form an independent commission to verify the preliminary presidential election results, saying the law doesn’t grant them the authority to do so. The decision by the nine-member Provisional Electoral Council came after a meeting with eight presidential candidates Monday night and amid growing calls to put confidence in the electoral process. The candidates, including second-place finisher Jude Célestin, have rejected the results on the grounds that the vote was marred by “massive fraud” with ballot stuffing and political party monitors voting multiple times. The CEP’s position stands to deepen an ongoing electoral impasse while further casting doubt over the Dec. 27 runoff.

Belarus: Election ‘neither free nor fair,’ says UN human rights expert | United Nations News Centre

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, today said that while the Presidential polls conducted in the country this past Sunday were not met with violence as in previous cases, no progress was made in serving the Belarusians’ right to free and fair election. “The election process was orchestrated, and the result was pre-ordained. It could not be otherwise, given the 20 years of continuous suppression of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, which are the preconditions for any credible competition,” Mr. Haraszti said in a press statement. The Special Rapporteur noted that none of the international and local independent election monitors could verify the official claims of 86 per cent voter turnout or 84 per cent endorsement of the incumbent. “Such high scores have never been claimed in elections in Europe since the end of the Soviet Union,” Mr. Haraszti stressed. “The observers’ documentations highlighted that not even the four days of coerced participation of prison inmates, army conscripts, and public servants under the label of ‘early voting,’ can give up the stated numbers,” he added.

Nigeria: Turning to Tech to Battle Legacy of Electoral Fraud | Bloomberg

Nigeria’s electoral commission says it has found a means to fight fraud that has marred votes repeatedly in Africa’s most populous nation: technology. While its decision to use biometric voter-card readers in general elections starting March 28 is favored by Muhammadu Buhari’s opposition alliance, President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party, which has won every election in Africa’s biggest oil producer since the end of military rule in 1999, is crying foul. All of the previous elections were marred by ballot stuffing, multiple and underage voting, and falsification of figures, according to local and international monitors. About 800 people died in violence in 2011 after Buhari lost to Jonathan and said the result was rigged.

Nigeria: Vote Chaos Looms as Raids Highlight Islamist Threat | Bloomberg

Tujja Masa won’t dare vote in Nigeria’s presidential election next month. The 50-year-old farmer is one of the hundreds of thousands who’ve fled their northeastern villages to escape gun and bomb attacks by Islamist militants. Raids last week were said to have killed hundreds of people in the town of Baga, while a girl as young as 10 detonated explosives at a market in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. The self-declared leader of the Islamist Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau, has likened democracy to homosexuality and incest in video messages. “I am really afraid of election day,” Masa said in Maiduguri, the city in which he’s sheltering with relatives after running away from Krenoa, his village in the north of Borno state. “Honestly we are praying for God to come to our aid and have hitch-free elections, but I will not go there.” Nigeria, home to Africa’s biggest economy, oil industry and population, is stumbling toward general elections in the face of worsening violence by the Islamist group, Boko Haram, and the introduction of a biometric voter-card system designed to end ballot stuffing and fraud.

Mozambique: Opposition Party to Challenge Election Credibility | VoA News

Attorneys for Mozambique’s main opposition RENAMO party are gathering evidence to launch a legal challenge of the credibility of the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections, citing “overwhelming” instances of voter irregularities, says Eduardo Namburete, the opposition party’s external affairs head. The electoral commission has been announcing provisional results of the general election. But RENAMO will challenge the results of the poll after the electoral body announces the final outcome, according to Namburete.

Afghanistan: Despite agreement, Afghan vote review still slow as deadline looms | Stars and Stripes

It starts by cutting the bright green seal on the lid of the ballot box, but the tedious task of auditing just one box among five hangars’ worth in Afghanistan’s contested presidential election often ends only hours later. The pace of counting continues to lag amid challenges by both campaigns two days after rival candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah stood with Secretary of State John Kerry and pledged to accept the results of an election audit they vowed would end before NATO leaders meet next month to discuss their future commitments in Afghanistan. Once the seals are cut, the box is opened and some quick math done to match the number of ballots with a tally sheet inside. Things slow from there. While an auditor form the Afghan Independent Election Commission flips through several bundles of ballots, observers from the rival campaigns lean in, peering at check marks and scribbles to pull aside the ballots they consider suspicious.

Afghanistan: Candidate Alleges Voting Fraud by Karzai and Aides | New York Times

Less than 48 hours after a runoff election to choose the next president of Afghanistan, the first signs of a looming political crisis emerged on Monday, with the campaign of Abdullah Abdullah claiming there had been widespread ballot stuffing and suggesting he was being set up for a defeat he would not accept. A senior campaign official for Mr. Abdullah, who won the most votes in the election’s first round, said the candidate believes President Hamid Karzai and a coterie of advisers around him orchestrated the fraud. The aim, in the estimation of the Abdullah campaign, was either to install Ashraf Ghani, the other candidate for president, or to see Mr. Karzai use a postelection crisis as an excuse to extend his own term in office.

Mauritania: Election ‘marred by ballot-stuffing’ | Global Post

Mauritania’s main Islamist party said on Monday the country’s parliamentary and local elections had been marred by “ballot stuffing” and other forms of fraud. Tewassoul president Jemil Ould Mansour told a news conference the party had found “serious irregularities” which could discredit Saturday’s polls, including “ballot stuffing in some places and the resumption of the vote after the count in others”. “We cannot accept this fact in any way and we have sent a delegation to the (election commission) to talk about it,” he said. He did not say which parties had benefited from the alleged ballot-stuffing, a form of electoral fraud in which people submit multiple ballots during a vote in which only one ballot per person is allowed.

Guinea: President Dismisses Election Fraud Allegations | VoA News

Guinea’s president has dismissed accusations of fraud in last month’s legislative polls, calling them “political rhetoric.” President Alpha Conde also said he will not allow any group to destabilize the country. The president commented Tuesday through his spokesperson, Rachid Nadiye. Nadiye said in an interview with VOA that Conde had urged opposition leaders to seek legal action and have their election grievances addressed in court. The September 28 polling was intended to complete a political transition in Guinea that began with the democratic election of Conde in 2010.

Russia: Opposition Leader Asserts Broad Problems in Moscow Race | New York Times

The Russian opposition leader, Aleksei A. Navalny, on Thursday submitted to a court more than 50,000 pages of documents illustrating what he said were irregularities in Sunday’s voting in the Moscow mayor’s race in an attempt to prove that he won enough votes to force a runoff against the incumbent, Sergei S. Sobyanin. But the court refused to block the inauguration of Mr. Sobyanin, who barely cleared the threshold for an outright victory with 51.4 percent. He was sworn in on Thursday evening during a ceremony in the city’s World War II museum. According to the official returns, Mr. Navalny placed second with 27.2 percent. Yet, even as Mr. Navalny and his aides lugged 21 boxes of documents to the courthouse, they acknowledged not only that there was little hope of overturning the results, but also that the voting had been relatively fair. So they have adopted a new message: while the vote was generally free of blatant fraud like ballot stuffing, the election itself was rigged from the beginning.

France: French electronic voting allegedly easy to rig – Ballot stuffing claims | TechEye

France’s first electronic election has turned into a farce with reports coming in of the sort of election rigging that you would expect from third world countries like Afghanistan, Zimbabwe or the USA. An “online-primary” claimed as “fraud-proof” and as “ultra secure” as the Maginot Line, has turned out to be vulnerable to a Blizkrieg of multiple and fake voting. The election was supposed to anoint a rising star of the moderate right, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, 39, as the party’s candidate in the election for mayor of Paris next spring. Some of her problems was that she abstained in the final parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage in late April and hard-right figures within the party urged militant opponents of gay marriage to swamp the open primary with votes for a young Paris city councillor, Pierre-Yves Bournazel. So it was going to be a tight election, and then journalists from Metronews proved that it was easy to breach the allegedly strict security of the election. They voted several times using different names to prove their point.

Zimbabwe: Biometrics technology for Zimbabwe polls | Samuel Chindaro/The Zimbabwe Independent

The call for employment of technology in Zimbabwe for both voter registration and facilitation of the electoral process is not entirely new. Masvingo MP Tongai Matutu called for the introduction of biometrics, lodging a motion in parliament to this effect in 2010. The issue was raised again in March last year by Pishai Muchauraya who said though it had been discussed with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, nothing concrete had materialised. In April last year, Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa also called for the adoption of a digital biometric voters’ roll. I also brought up this issue in July last year in which I explored the basics behind biometrics technology. Most recently, calls led by Regional Integration minister Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga to have online voters’ registration were rejected by the Registrar-General (RG) who contends that this does not provide adequate checks as required in Section 24 of the Electoral Act.

Russia: Election Observers Condemn Local Vote | The Moscow Times

In a stinging rebuke to the authorities and United Russia, election observers said Monday that weekend municipal elections in a provincial town had been too tarnished by fraud to be considered legitimate. The Ryazan region town of Kasimov had turned into a key battleground for the political opposition ahead of Sunday’s vote for the municipal legislature, and activists had hoped to ensure a fair election in this corner of the country following disputed national elections in December and March. According to preliminary results, United Russia won nearly 50 percent of Sunday’s vote, matching its local result in State Duma elections in December, and secured 13 seats in the 20-seat legislature. But monitors said they witnessed numerous offenses, including ballot stuffing, at the town’s 22 polling stations. “There were nearly two serious violations at every station. … The number of violations per voter was unprecedented,” said Sofia Ivanova, regional coordinator of the election watchdog Golos. Pro-United Russia ballot stuffers were caught in the act in at least two polling stations, and observers discovered stacks of votes for the ruling party at several others, she said by telephone.

West Virginia: Lawsuit filed in ballot stuffing  case | Charleston Daily Mail

A candidate on the losing end of a ballot-stuffing scheme in Lincoln County is now suing a half dozen current and former county officials in federal court for $57,000, plus unspecific punitive damages. The lawsuit also sheds new light on Lincoln County’s 2010 Democratic primary, which is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation. Former county commission candidate Phoebe Harless said the officials – including all three sitting county commissioners – and a former felon deprived her of her civil rights by stacking the deck against her candidacy. Nitro attorney Harvey Peyton filed the lawsuit late last week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. It names the commissioners, the commission’s secretary, the former sheriff, the former county clerk, a government insurance risk pool and Wandell “Rocky” Adkins.

Russia: Putin’s Russia: What I saw as an election observer | CSMonitor.com

Moscow-based journalist Anna Arutunyan was a volunteer election observer for Russia’s March 4 presidential election. This is her account of the events at a polling station in the town of Nizhneye Myachkovo. It was past midnight on election night in a snow-covered village polling station 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) southeast of Moscow, and five local officials were trying to ignore the protests of five election observers as the officials tallied up the ballots for Russia’s paramount leader of 12 years, Vladimir Putin. The complaint was minor: The officials weren’t letting the observers see each ballot they counted. But combined with the other violations noticed at this polling station, the process left observers with a sense that the very legitimacy of the vote had been compromised. Anton Dugin, a tall, young local official who was in charge of the polling station, called for a vote among the poll workers: Should they change the way they were counting the ballots at the observers’ insistence they follow the law?

Russia: How a mysterious change to voting tallies boosted Putin at St Petersburg polling station: a citizen observer reports | Telegraph

After Russia’s parliamentary elections in December, it was impossible for anyone in my country not to know that there had been electoral fraud on a massive scale. But I am a historian and obsessed with verifying information for myself. For that reason I joined the more than 3,000 citizens in St Petersburg who committed themselves to monitoring last week’s presidential election. In training sessions, lawyers explained the kinds of irregularities that might occur and how to avert – or at least to record – them. They lectured us on the relevant laws and regulations. They told us how to prevent ballot stuffing and how to detect “carousel voting”, when people vote more than once. “But remember,” they warned on several occasions. “The members of the electoral commission are not your enemies: think positively about them and don’t forget the presumption of innocence.”

Russia: Fraudulent Votes for Putin Abound in Chechnya – 107% turnout in one precinct | NYTimes.com

While there were charges of fraud in Russia’s presidential election Sunday, officials throughout most of the country appeared to be on notice to avoid the appearance of cheating in obvious ways like ballot stuffing. But some here seem not to have gotten the memo. Deyeshi Dautmerzayeva has lived with her son’s family since he disappeared in 2003, presumably at the hands of the Russians. Mrs. Daudmerzayeva said she voted for Vladimir V. Putin because she believes he knows what happened to her relatives. At Precinct 451, members of the local electoral commission set about counting a pile of glistening white ballots. “Putin, Putin, Putin,” they muttered. “Good, more Putin.” Vladimir V. Putin did well in Chechnya, a place that he virtually declared war on after becoming president in 1999, and whose people have suffered grievous human rights abuses at the hands of Russian security forces. The final tally: Putin, 1,482 votes; Gennady A. Zyuganov, the Communist Party leader, one vote.

Egypt: Voters head to polls again in parliament vote | Reuters

Egyptians vote Tuesday in the third round of a parliamentary election that has so far handed Islamists the biggest share of seats in an assembly that will be central in the transition from army rule. Islamist groups came late to the uprising that unseated president Hosni Mubarak in February, but were well placed to seize the moment when Egyptians were handed the first chance in six decades to choose their representatives freely.

The run-up to the third round has been overshadowed by the deaths of 17 people last month in clashes between the army and protesters demanding the military step aside immediately. But the ruling generals have insisted the election process will not be derailed by violence. Monitors mostly praised the first two rounds as free of the ballot stuffing, thuggery and vote rigging that once guaranteed landslide wins for Mubarak’s party.

But police raids on pro-democracy and rights groups last week have disrupted the work of leading Western-backed election monitors and drew accusations that the army was deliberately trying to weaken oversight of the vote and silence critics.

Russia: Ballot stuffing suspected in Russian election | tvnz.co.nz

Dagmein Khaseinova beams with pride recalling the day her Chechen village, devastated a decade ago in a war launched by Vladimir Putin, gave the Russian ruler’s party nearly 100 percent support in a parliamentary vote this month. Her little village of Mekhketi, she said, is even on the way to winning the cash prize she says authorities have promised for the polling station registering the biggest turnout.

“We’ve already won the regional competition. In a few days we’ll hear whether we won throughout all of Chechnya,” Khaseinova, 53, said, wearing a traditional Chechen scarf over her head and squinting in the cold mountain air. “The organizers of the polling station have been promised some kind of prize money if they win,” she adds, hiding a smile. Putin’s United Russia recorded a higher percentage of votes in predominantly Muslim Chechnya, where federal troops fought two wars since the fall of the Soviet Union, than anywhere else in the country. Official results show support at 99.5% and voter turnout of 99.4%.

Nationwide, the party won just under half the votes, securing a slim majority in the State Duma. Even that outcome, critics said, was the result of ballot stuffing and fraud. Countless complaints have been filed; but not in Chechnya. Official monitors here have not lodged a single complaint of voting violations, but among many local residents, the outcome has stirred some incredulity, albeit cautiously expressed.

“United Russia is the party of Putin, and Chechnya would never vote for Putin,” said one middle-aged resident of the regional capital of Grozny, who declined to give his name for fear of retribution. “In the mind of every Chechen he is associated with the bombing that destroyed Grozny and other cities all over the region. Voting for Putin is about as absurd as any vote with a 99% outcome,” he said.