The Central Electoral Board (JCE) of the Dominican Republic has accepted the report by the Organization of American States (OAS) on the failures in electronic voting that forced the suspension and repetition of municipal elections, which it has defined as “a bitter truth” , and, consequently, has dismissed its chief of Informatics.
The Dominican Republic was due to hold municipal elections on February 16, but they were suspended during the election day due to problems with electronic voting. The local elections were finally held on March 15, although the authorities asked the OAS for an audit to clarify what happened.
The OAS published its report on Wednesday, according to which there was “mismanagement” by the JCE due to “bad software design” and the lack of quality controls. The result was that in some voting machines not all the candidacies were loaded.
The JCE president, Julio César Castaños, appeared the same Wednesday to support the OAS report, which he described as “impartial”, “objective” and “professional”, despite the fact that it is “a bitter truth.”
“For the JCE, this has been a regrettable fact and a bitter truth,” he declared, admitting that, although the institution “has put in so much effort and so many resources in achieving a result, the facts have determined that it was frustrating.” .
The immediate consequence has been the dismissal of the JCE’s national IT director, Miguel Ángel García. “It is a human error, a human negligence, a lack of verification of human quality,” justified Castaños.
In addition, he said that the JCE will accept the recommendations made by the OAS. “That work will serve as a basis, once the truth of what happened is known, so that democracy will necessarily be strengthened,” he said, according to a statement from the Central Electoral Board.
For its part, the President’s Party for Dominican Liberation (PLD), Danilo Medina, has stressed that “neither the PLD government nor the campaign (…) had absolutely nothing to do with the collapse of automated voting.”
The ruling PLD has thus referred to the fact that the OAS had expressly indicated in the report that “the audit team found no evidence of external attacks, sabotage or attempted fraud.”
However, the opposition Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) has demanded responsibilities beyond the computing area of the JCE, considering that “the detected failures were not only the result of the incapacity of the JCE technical and management team.”
The PRM has maintained that the regional bloc “does not rule out … a possible complicity of some of its members (of the JCE) to achieve the objective of avoiding the defeat that was projected,” according to the news portal Listín Diario. .
The elections of March 15 gave the victory to the Modern Revolutionary Party in most of the municipalities that were at stake, including the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo.