Thursday, December 5, 2013

Where the Recount Process Stands

Readers of English language media may have seen stories quoting a  press release from the Tribunal Supremo Electoral claiming that LIBRE failed to follow through yesterday on an agreement about starting the review of the Actas in the disputed presidential election.

But just reporting the TSE's press release is neither the whole story, nor is it accurate.

You are unlikely to have seen any reporting on LIBRE's response to the TSE press release, which is that David Matamoros, head of the TSE, was mistaken when he said the process of recounting the votes would begin yesterday, because there has been no agreement as to the procedures to be used for the process.

According to Matamoros, the process of rescanning the original tally sheets (Actas) to compare them with the scanned images in the TSE election counting system and contrast them with the certified versions of the Actas under LIBRE party control was supposed to begin yesterday. 

But in this procedure, there's no mechanism for a recount or handling suspected errors, only comparing versions of the Actas.  Nor was there a procedure for handling the 2000+ actas for which there are no scanned images, but for which the TSE has recorded vote counts.

Oscar Rivera, the elections overseer for LIBRE, told Proceso Digital that LIBRE indeed met with the TSE on Tuesday to arrange for the recount.  The TSE representatives presented a proposal for the way to proceed with the recount, but said if LIBRE was not in agreement, for them to propose an alternative. 

Rivera said
We received the proposal and the same night (Tuesday evening) we gave a formal reply to the Tribunal in which we asked for other mechanisms to assure the Honduran people that Honduran democracy would be respected and that the TSE was a serious [professional] organization, but with the reply that they gave us, they haven't convinced us.

Enrique Reina, campaign coordinator for Xiomara Castro, added
They haven't said what they will do when an Acta contains anomalies and we asked that if an Acta is inconsistent in some way, that they recount the votes [in that ballot box].

Oscar Rivera went on to note that there were other mechanisms that LIBRE could use in the election law to get the Actas validated.  He noted that they were awaiting a formal reply from the TSE magistrates that addressed their request of December 2, not the unilateral approach presented by the TSE in their press release.

So, for the moment, a recount is in a holding pattern while the TSE and LIBRE negotiate a process acceptable to both.

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