ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
EXPERT VERIFICATION MISSION
PRESIDENT ELECTION – FIRST ROUND 2010
The Expert Team verified 442 PVs from a national sample representing 71,423 votes and 454 PVs where it applied the criteria for disallowing PVs, which represent 118,478 votes. Additionally, the Expert Team retrieved 23 ballot boxes from all 10 of the BEDs, representing 2,162 votes. Team members travelled to the BEDs and brought the bags to be reviewed in the receiving center where electoral materials were returned on Election Day. In the presence of CEP authorities, they reviewed the contents of the bags and conducted a manual count of the ballots. The Expert Mission reviewed a total of 919 PVs or 8.2 percent of the total PVs processed by the CTV. This number represented 192,063 votes or 16.9 percent of the total votes processed by the CTV.
Additionally, the user access logs for the CTV tabulation system were reviewed. A reference analysis was conducted to detect irregularities by implementing crossexaminations between the tabulation systems logs and the extract of the PV results by comparing the status of the PVs against result logs. Furthermore, the logs were review to verify that the first and second data intake operations were completed by different users. Finally, a review was conducted to verify that the operator quality control was undertaken by a user uninvolved in the data entry. The review concluded that all user control policies were followed.
Finally, the Expert Team's mandate required it conduct interviews with electoral stakeholder to obtain their insights and opinions about the first round elections. In fulfilling this mandate, team members met with representatives of the presidential candidacies of Mr. Martelly, and of the Group of Twelve presidential candidates which is petitioning a group on the election results. Contact was made with Mrs. Manigat, but the proposed meeting with her representative never materialized. Team members also met with representatives of the following civil society organizations – Initiative de la Société Civile, (ISC), Réseau National de Droit de l'Homme, and the Conseil National d'Observation des Elections (CNO). These meeting also permitted the Expert Mission to offer information on its composition, its methodology and on some of its own insights.
ELECTORAL VERIFICATION FINDINGS
For the purposes of this Expert Mission, an "electoral irregularity" is defined as the purposeful or erroneous violation of official electoral procedures resulting in the disputed validity of voted ballots, electoral documents, or voter eligibility and, as a consequence, electoral results. Keeping in mind the relevant provisions of the Haitian Electoral Law, the Expert Mission noted the following kinds of irregularities in its verification process:
- Missing of PVs, voter lists, and tally sheets from the polling station sachets.
- Absence of required signatures on the PVs or the tally sheets.
- Alterations (an attempt to change the results on the PV) versus corrections, which did not change results.
- The absence of written CIN numbers on the voter lists indicating that an elector had voted.
- Irregular patterns when recording CIN numbers (e.g. the first few pages completely full of electors who voted with the remaining pages blank.)
- Invalid CIN numbers confirmed by using a bar code scanner linked to the national voter registry.
- Disallowed PV sachets to confirm the validity of the quarantine decision by the Unit for Legal Control (ULC) disallowing those results.
- PVs recording voter participation rates exceeding 50 percent and at least 150 votes for any single presidential candidate, which were included in the final vote tally.
- Missing PV sachets with the results of a number of polling stations.
From the analysis of the information obtained from these sources, the Expert Mission identified the following tendencies.
- As the participation rate and total number of votes for the winning candidate increases, so too does the probability of irregularities and fraud.
- When compared to the total field of candidates, the irregularities impacted two candidates in particular. (See table below.)
- Given that most of the irregularities were found on source documents coming from polling stations, the Expert must conclude that most of the irregularities and fraud emanated from the polling stations.
- At the Tabulation Center, however, the Legal Control Unit's inconsistent practices and ambiguous lines of authority contributed to the uncertainties surrounding the validity of the preliminary results.
In recommending a remedy to correct these irregularities, the Expert Mission identified four options for consideration:
- Conduct a new nationwide election.
- Conduct a new election in certain problematic locations.
- Conduct a nationwide recount of presidential ballots.
- Review those PVs in the particularly problematic areas, as identified by voter participation and vote total for a single candidate, and disallow those that do not comply to articles 171 and 173.2 of the electoral code of Haiti.
- Ascertain the impact on the preliminary results, including the placement of the top two candidates to enter the second round.
The option to conduct a new national election was ruled out. As it pertains to the presidential election, which is the scope of the Expert Mission, the irregularities identified most profoundly affected the candidacies of the first, second and third place presidential candidates in the first round. The Expert Mission believes that a new election would involve more contests and candidacies than the evidence warranted. Furthermore, it would subject the Haitian people to a further lapse in constitutional governance, impose new campaign expenses, and diverting scarce resources both from the treasury of the Government of Haiti and international assistance would otherwise be directed into humanitarian relief, and reconstruction programming.
The Expert Mission has ruled out the option of organizing a presidential election in selected areas was ruled out for similar reasons. While the variable costs associated with an election involving fewer voters would be, in principle, less than a nationwide one, the overhead costs of electoral administration would still be incurred, additional expenses would still be imposed on domestic and international stakeholders, and the lapse in constitutional governance would remain the same as in the case of a national election repoll.
The Expert Mission does not consider a nationwide recount of presidential ballots as a feasible option. The Electoral Law of Haiti does not have explicit provisions to conduct a physical recount of ballots. According to Haitian legislation, the PVs serve as the final accounting of election results and the basis for any recalculation of the preliminary outcomes.
The Expert Mission proceeded on the option of verifying the preliminary results by way of the visual verification of a large number of PVs in order to determine whether the preliminary results reflected the will of the people.
In accordance with this provision of the law, the Expert Mission set four specific criteria to determine if a PV should be included: 1) the inclusion or absence of the required signatures of the polling officials on the Procès-Verbaux; 2) the inclusion or absence of the list of registered voters; 3) the presence or accuracy of the CIN numbers to identify those voters who cast their ballots at that particular polling station and if bona fide; 4) if a Procès-Verbal had been obviously altered to change the results of the elections, for instance adding a digit to a number to increase a vote total by a hundred or more, that PV was also excluded.
Following the original "red flag" utilized by the ULC in the Tabulation Center, the Expert Mission reviewed those PVs where any single candidate received more than 150 votes or more. Because of the statistically significant patterns demonstrated in the national sample, it reviewed and evaluated all PVs with a participation of 50 percent and above and the previously mentioned candidate total. Every single one of the PVs with a participation rate that exceeded 100 percent was reviewed, irrespective of the candidate vote total. Any other PV that was found to not be in compliance with the above criteria, even if it didn't reach the thresholds for participation and candidate vote total, was also recommended to be disallowed and not included in the final vote tally.
The table below shows the impact on vote totals for each presidential candidate when these criteria are applied campared with the officially reported election results from the CEP.
In compliance with its mandate, the Expert Mission offers to the CEP the following figures to quantify the impact of the recommendation to exclude 234 PVs from the vote tally. Should this recommendation be implemented., the position of the candidate in third place would change to second and the candidate now in second place would move to third.
The final decision by the CEP should be followed by the statuory of contestation for a legal hearing of disputes over the CEP's decision so that a final result for the first can be certified.
In order to improve the integrity of polling and tabbulation in the second round of voting the CEP can consider intistuting the following policiy and administrative improvements.
A. Polling Station Administration
- In order to improve the accuracy of accounting for ballots cast and voters, the record of voting by Political Party Agents (mendataires) and pollworkers should be documented and accounted for on a dedicated Proces-Verbal.
- It is essential to reinforce the training of the polling staff in order to guarantee the accuarcy of the information contained in the PV transmitted to the CTV as well as to avoid irregularities noted during the examination of PVs ans the supporting documentation. Poll worker training should emphasize the proper search techniques on the voter registry in identifing the names of voters, vote tabulation procedures, and the proper completition and inclusion of electoral documents in the sachet. Attendance at the training session should be mandatory and a senior officier from the Tabulation Center should be present at the training of trainers to improve the quality of the information recorded on the PV and other material included in the sachet. Further, the President, Vice-President, and Secretary of the polling station should not only required to list their name on the PV but also sign the form for authentification. The PV may require a change in format to accommodate these signatures.
- Improved training should be provided for the Agents de Security Electoraux (ASE) to better prepare them in polling station security and conflit management. This training should include establishing communication protocols among the ASE, Haitian National Police ans MINUSTAH for rapid responses to security incidents. Poll worker should receive better training in electoral security incident documentation and reporting.
- The performance of poll workers employed at stations where irregularities occured should be reviewed. Those individuals who served in polling station where the malfesance occured should not be re-employed for the second round. Similarly , the PVs yield the insights that in some case entire polling centers were subjet to irregularities . In those case, the polling center supervisor should not be re-employed for the second round.
B. Tabulation Center Administration
The Expert Mission focused its efforts and activities in the Vote Tabulation Center (CTV, by its French acronym). Its two chief deficiencies concerned the lack of clear criteria for determining the validity of the Proces-Verbal and its complementary documentation. To this end, the Expert Mission provides the following recommendations.
- The Legal Review Unit should continue using the four specific criteria to determine if a PV should be included: 1) the inclusion or absence of the required signatures of the polling officials on the ; 2) the inclusion or absence of the list of registered voters; 3) the presence and accuracy of the CIN numbers to identify those voters who cast their ballots at that particular polling station; 4) if a Procès- Verbal had been obviously altered to change the results of the elections, for instance adding a digit to a number to increase a vote total by a hundred or more, that PV was also excluded.
- A clear chain of authority should be established regarding those PVs, which after the first review, remain in doubt as to their validity. This authority should include Haitian lawyers with particular knowledge of the electoral law of the country.
- Additional recommendations should include:
a. The CTV should formalize the Manual of Operations and have it approved by the CEP thereby giving it a statutory base. This manual would improve the quality control measures through greater consistency, uniformity and thoroughness in the application of the verification criteria. Likewise, it would improve the organization of the chain of visual verification process with measures to isolate the results sheets being worked on from those already verified and those awaiting verification.
b. The CTV should be provided with sufficient resources to open each sachet and check for the statutory presence of PVs and tally sheets. Without such documents, the PVs should be disallowed for further investigation by the ULC.
c. The CTV should employ scanners to create an electronic log of the PVs received. By creating PDF copies, the PV can be posted on the CEP web site for public inspection and transmitted electronically when required. By initiating the scanning capability at the Tabulation Center, the basic technology will be put into place which could then be expanded downward to BEDs, BECs, and even polling stations in future elections.
d. The resources for the Tabulation should be expanded so that the PV tabulation completion time can be reduced from its current seven days.
e. International and domestic election monitors should be permitted to observe all of the activities of the CTV including the intake of sachets, initial inspection procedures, and the organization of PV for tabulation.
Unit for Legal Control (ULC)
- Strengthen the training provided to the ULC lawyers, in particular with regard to the voting and tabulation processes.
- A mechanism of accountability for the work being performed by the lawyers should be put in place in order to ensure a quality control of the legal verification of irregular PVs.
- Information on PVs verified, even if they were not set aside, should be made public.
- Provide a larger cadre of trained lawyers in order to increase the volume of visual verification undertaken.
- The ULC attorneys should be provided with improved office facilities and equipment to facilitate better document control, processing, and organization.
Conseil Electoral Provisiore
- The CEP should expand the incoming call capacity of the Emergency Call Center so that security responses to intimidation, threats, and attacks at polling stations can be effectively organized.
- For improved ballot control and accountability, the CEP should print ballots with numbered counterfoils. This procedure should allow poll workers to reconcile ballots cast with voter turnout enhancing the integrity of the tabulation figures on the PVs.
- The CEP should improve the format of the PV form to reflect the following changes:
- The official copy of the form should not be white as this copy is easier to fraudulently reproduce;
- The total votes from all the candidates should be placed at the bottom of the of the tally column;
- The form should contain space for the signature of all polling staff, mandataires, and observers.
- The number of international observers should be increased for the second round and deployed in greater numbers at the polls where irregularities were identified in the first round as a deterrent to fraud.
- The Verification Mission has identified polling locations where violence occurred and voting was disrupted. Such patterns of electoral violence provide the international community with a map of "hot spot" locations where the probability of a repetition of such violence exists. Therefore, in these areas where polling stations are designated as "hot spots," the international observe presence can be more robust and the presence of MINUSTAH forces can be reinforced.
The 2010 presidential election was the fourth conducted since the adoption of the Haitian constitution in 1987. While this Verification Mission has identified significant irregularities, which it believes influenced the outcome of the first round of elections, there are aspects of the electoral process to inspire confidence.
- There were 19 candidates contesting for the presidency, demonstrating an active and robust support for elections as the instrument to determine executive governance.
- The electoral process engaged 33,543 Haitians as poll workers, demonstrating a deep sense of civic responsibility and pride among the electorate.
- The election was monitored by around 6,000 national observers, demonstrating a commitment on the part of Haitian civil society to demand accountability of its election officials and processes.
- Haitians have historically respected the official results of the election, demonstrating a commitment to democratic principles and rule of law.
Electoral processes in all countries undergo reform and improvements. The Haitian electorate should regard the 2010 first round as another step in the democratic development of the country as it seeks to fulfill the constitutional principle of a "socially just, economically free, and politically independent Haitian nation."