Thursday, November 30, 2017

Controversy about votes being "monitored"

 UPDATED to add Santa Barbara and Cortes to list of departments where votes held for "monitoreo" favored the Alianza; and to note that the TSE has said it will count all votes, something we are seeing happen as we go through our list of tallies in monitoreo.

Today. reports from Honduras indicated that the Tribunal Supremo Electoral was holding about 300,000 uncounted votes in a state of "monitoreo". They offered no explanation why. What was expressed was that these votes would not be counted before a winner was named in the now extremely tight contest between Juan Orlando Hernández and Salvador Nasralla.

This alarmed international observers, who observed-- quite rightly-- that this many uncounted votes could well swing such a tight election. Both the OAS and the European Union publicly called on the TSE to count all the votes before designating a victor.

Remarkably, this call was echoed by COHEP, the Honduran council of private enterprise.

The EU in particular urged the TSE to take the time to count the votes, so that every vote was recognized, rather than hurry to end the election prematurely. UPDATE: as of 10 PM Tegucigalpa time, the TSE has said it will count all votes; and we are seeing the status change as we go through our list.

We decided to review the vote tallies that are being held for greater scrutiny-- or monitoreo-- ourselves, to see if the suspicion many have, that this includes a preponderance of pro-Alianza voting, was upheld.

It may take us a few hours. So far, though, in the Departments of Atlantida, Colon, Cortes, Santa Barbara, Valle and Yoro, the total of votes on these uncounted tallies for the Alianza is higher than the total for the National Party. (We are suspending this project at 1 AM Tegucigalpa time, as the TSE continues to update some of these. We will spot check other departments tomorrow...)

There may be reasons these tallies require extra scrutiny. There are check sum features built into the tallies, so errors in transcription or uncertainties about numerals can be resolved in many cases. In others, the question would be if, for example, over-writing on one line should result in ignoring the votes for other candidates.

So far, though, it is clear that this vote pool reserved from counting would contribute to shifting the margin back in the other direction.

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