The Joint Electoral Observation Mission (JEOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS) and of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has deployed at present 50 electoral observers in the eleven electoral departments of the country. In addition to monitoring the election campaign and the various stages of the electoral process, the JEOM will be meeting with election stakeholders.
During this period of preparations for Election Day, the observers are paying particular attention to the actions taken by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to implement the measures it has adopted as well as the recommendations submitted by the electoral observation missions, including the JEOM, and by the OAS Expert Mission on the verification of the tabulation in order to improve the organization and orderliness of the second round of the presidential and legislative elections. These measures and recommendations apply in particular to the electoral registers, the public information campaign with regard to “Where to Vote,” sensitization and public information on the electoral process in general, the training and conduct of poll workers, and the operations of the Vote Tabulation Centre (CTV).
The JEOM welcomes the measures taken by the CEP to improve the organization of the second round and to thereby increase the credibility of the electoral process and the legitimacy of the persons elected. The Mission has noted that the telephone numbers to help voters find out where they should vote have been operational since February 21. In addition, the number of operators at the call centre has been increased. Moreover, efforts have been made to upgrade the training of supervisors and poll workers and to ensure that it is carried out in good time.
Electoral workers whose performance was unsatisfactory during the first round have been excluded and will be replaced on the basis of merit and other criteria. As concerns the recommendations of the OAS Expert Mission on the verification of the tabulation, particular attention has been devoted to improving the functioning of the CTV through training, increasing the number of lawyers comprising the Legal Control Unit, establishing consistent criteria for verifying the validity of the results sheets, and reinforcing the quality control aspects of the verification.
As a means of reinforcing communication and the confidence of the stakeholders involved in the elections which could result from such an approach, the JEOM has been encouraging the CEP to convene a second meeting with the political parties and candidates in order to engage and inform them on its activities, on the smooth implementation of the measures adopted, and on the difficulties experienced in implementing some of the measures such as the recruitment of “facilitators” to help voters find their polling stations on Election Day.
The Mission encourages the candidates and stakeholders to take part in the elections seminars organized by the MINUSTAH in the different departments with the objective of disseminating information on the organization of the second round and on the recommendations made to improve it. The Mission is also encouraging the candidates to sign the code of conduct which seeks to promote a climate of tolerance and of calm during the election campaign and on Election Day.
The Mission wishes to reiterate that its mandate does not include the provision of technical assistance to the electoral institution nor to participating in the organization of the elections of March 20, 2011. Its objective is to observe the various phases of the electoral process as well as to formulate recommendations to improve the process, which was done following the first round.
The Mission intends to reinforce its presence in all the departments and will deploy some 200 observers during the coming elections.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.