Voter turnout for today’s Haiti elections is expected to at an all time low, local officials say.
“Election pundits are predicting that voter turn-out may be less than 15 percent,” Karl Jean-Louis, OCAPH senior governance advisor for the Haiti-based watchdog organization, said. “We are extremely concerned. If turn-out is very low, it will raise questions about the results’ legitimacy.”
Jean-Louis suggests the electoral commission provide more information about polling stations and how citizens can obtain their national identification card, which is a requirement to vote.
According to local reports, voters are having trouble finding polling stations and are unable to find their names on registration lists. In one instance, a 75-year-old man named Jean spent an hour and a half looking for a polling station because of little information from officials on the voting locations, an OCAPH election monitor reported.
The organization dispatched roughly 500 volunteers to polling stations where they are monitoring and recording the election process.
“Using their mobile telephones to send SMS messages and photos throughout the day, these ‘citizen journalists’ will report real time on the evolving situation in remote areas,” OCAPH said in a statement. “Our goal is to bring much-needed transparency, accountability and legitimacy to the process.”
“We’re holding out hope to raise this participation rate,” said Jose Enrique Castillo Barrantes, mission chief with the Organization of American States (OAS), which is also monitoring the poll along with the European Union. “We hope to get to at least 20 percent.”