Electoral process concerns in El Salvador
The Social Initiative for Democracy ("ISD" for its initials in Spanish) is a civic organization in El Salvador focusing on transparent government, electoral democracy and elimination of corruption. On Wednesday, February 14, ISD issued its first monitoring report for the upcoming March 4, 2018 elections.
With respect to recruiting citizens to staff the voting centers by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal ("TSE"), ISD found:
- A failure to informer the citizenry over the process of selection of members of the voting tables (JRVs).
- A failure to promote an awareness campaign over the civic responsibility to be part of a JRV.
- Errors in the selection system which included illiterate citizens, the disabled, elderly and sick.
- The lack of information and awareness has generated a lot of confusion and rejection of the measure to choose JRV members, combined with disinformation which various actors are putting out on social media.
For training new members of the JRV, ISD indcated:
- The TSE through its web site gives notice of the training centers, but very little effort has been undertaken to spread the word through different communication media and social networks about the time and places of training. Many people selected say they did not receive any invitation to participate in the training in any direct form.
Election authorities have not advanced far enough with technology:
- The decision of the TSE not to utilize technology for the preliminary count in the election of deputies puts again at risk the process of transmission and processing of results, which could create another election fiasco like in 2015.
- If the voting tally sheets aren't completed in a timely fashion, it will not matter that the TSE has invested in new scanners from Korea to scan and transmit the tally sheets.
The TSE has fallen down in multiple ways according to ISD:
- The TSE has not been complying with various rulings of the Constitutional Chamber including allowing the enrollment of candidates and delivery of campaign finance funds without the parties disclosing their sources of funding.
- The TSE has had sufficient time and notice to fix the problems of 2015, but did not act in a timely fashion. There may be an intention to have the system break down and to blame the Constitutional Chamber in order to get election reforms rolled back.
- The TSE has not been coordinating with organizations of civil society which could help in the process of civic engagement.