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17302: Holmstead: Re: 17286: Dailey: Reply to Holmstead (fwd)

From: John Holmstead <cyberkismet@yahoo.com>

It does seem that the OAS and EOM did not have a
problem with the May 2000 elections until the results
of the balloting seemed clear. There is lots more in
the archives.

Organization of American States

Electoral Observation Mission in Haïti

Press Release, 24 May 2000

Informal Translation

Initial reports gathered from over 200 international
observers deployed
throughout the country during Sunday’s polling
indicate that the credibility
of the elections is so far acceptable.

Despite the chaotic scenes witnessed in Port-au-Prince
where ballots were
dumped outside 3 communal electoral offices (BECs),
the EOM has observed
electoral authorities working to restore order and
recover tally sheets of
the count in the polling stations.  While this
situation  represents a
serious irregularity in the gathering of results, the
Mission stresses that
these ballots had already been counted.  The tally
sheets of the count of
these ballots in each polling station, and the copies
of this document,
should be able to establish the count without any need
for a recount of
ballots in the majority of cases.

Despite the fact that overall, the vote has gone well,
 a number of serious
irregularities including violent incidents marred
proceedings in some
locations.  The Electoral Observation Mission of the
OAS believes that
despite the gravity of these incidents, in most cases
they will not
necessarily have a significant influence over the
outcome of the vote.
Observers working with the OAS visited over 700
polling stations on 21 May,
and  have been following up on reports of incidents in
others from
political parties and national observers.  The EOM
considers that the
presence of these important national actors, observed
in a high number of
polling stations has made an significant contribution
towards the guarantee
of transparency of the vote.

It is vital that the political party representatives
and the national
observers monitor the tallying of the results in the
Communal and
Departmental Electoral Offices and the Mission urges
the Provisional
Electoral Council and the Departmental and Communal
Electoral Offices to
provide access to these important groups.

The Mission has confirmed that in Maïssade, Central
Plateau, armed
candidates from several parties and a member of the
judiciary destroyed
electoral materials as they were being transported to
the Communal Electoral
Office after the count.   Also in this department, in
the district of
Hinche, an armed group stole ballots from 3 polling
stations before the
count was made, thus invalidating the vote in these
polling stations.  A
further serious incident was confirmed in Verettes, in
the Artibonite, where
a thus far unidentified group seized and burned
electoral materials in some
7 polling stations, stopping the vote.     In Cité
Soleil, Port-au-Prince,
some five polling stations closed at 2pm, reportedly
after armed attacks.
Armed activity has also been confirmed in Bahon,
North, where armed men
burst into the BEC and burned the counted ballots of
an unknown number of
polling stations.

In the South, in Camp Perrin and Côteaux, ballots were
stolen from one and
four BVs respectively.  In Port-à-Piment, the BEC is
functioning in the
exclusive presence of members of Fanmi Lavalas.  On
May 22, observers were
not allowed access to this BEC. Neither have political
party representatives
been allowed access.  A similar situation has been
reported, but not
confirmed, on the Island of la Gonâve.

The Mission stresses that while these incidents are
deplorable, they were
isolated in nature, and can only affect the outcome of
the vote in a small
proportion of over 10,000 polling stations which
opened on 21 May.

During polling, observers noted a  number of
irregularities that the  EOM
does not believe will influence the outcome of  the
vote.   These include
the late opening in most cases 1-3 hours late of a
number of polling
stations.  Despite this factor, observers did not note
significant lines of
disenfranchised voters at the close of the polls.
Also observed in a number
of polling stations was a failure to respect the
secret of the vote.  This,
however, appears to be due to either poor training of
poll workers, or
cramped conditions of the polling stations rather than
an intent to
influence the vote.

The Electoral Observation Mission salutes the Haitian
people for their
determination to go to the polls and elect
representatives.  The Mission
encourages the Provisional Electoral Council to
continue its efforts to
facilitate the count of ballots throughout the country
and the gathering of
results in the communal and departmental electoral
bureaux and thus permit
that the will of the Haitian people be respected.

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