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  • Argentine politician and potential 2019 presidential candidate, Sergio Massa, arrives for a news conference with members of the foreign media at his offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina. April 16, 2019.

    Argentine politician and potential 2019 presidential candidate, Sergio Massa, arrives for a news conference with members of the foreign media at his offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina. April 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 July 2019

Left-leaning opposition legislators say new voting system being controlled by Macri, is prone to fraud.

Leaders of Argentina’s coalitions, Front for All and Federal Consensus, along with the Radical Civic Union (UCR) party, presented a letter to the nation’s top electoral body citing "technical problems, irregularities and other inconvenient situations" regarding the country’s newly installed electoral software to be used in the October presidential polls. 

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“We do not even have the basic documents or passwords, required to properly operate and interpret the system to be used,” said the federal legislators to the National Electoral Chamber (CNE). 

“We request that political parties be guaranteed the ability to access the system during the provisional counting, which allows them to consult the (raw) data from each of their polling stations” and then release them to the public, said the lawmakers.

So far, Argentinian officials have tested the nation’s new digital system at least three times, and each time there have been counting errors. Even Front for All presidential candidate, Alberto Fernandez—running mate to former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner—has requested scrapping the digital program and going back to the old system that relies entirely on paper counting.

According to El Siglo of Chile, under the new system, ballots will be scanned in using a TIFF format, but will converted and read as PNGs. According to computer experts, this process creates opportunity to alter votes.

Claudio Leon of the Socialist Workers Movement (MST) union said “we don’t know why the format needs to be changed. The scanner could directly generate the PNG image before being transmitted and thus maintain the format. The change they [President Mauricio Macri’s Cambiemos party] propose does not seem reasonable, … because in that modification the file could be manipulated,” said Leon who is also a lawyer. 

The new system makes it very difficult to change preliminary numbers because direct paper 

Parties also began to complain last January when the electronic program to be used, Election 360, was purchased by the executive via a presidential decree, rather than RFP. National legislators say they still don’t have passwords to enter the software and monitor the vote count, information they should have received by now to participate in the Aug. 11 primaries. 

The Secretariat of Political Affairs of the Ministry of Interior said passwords have not been given out because "the software is not finished."

Candidates of the October general elections say poll workers have not been properly trained on the new system that has reportedly enabled (though not caused) electoral fraud in some countries where it has been employed, including the Philippines and the Republic of the Congo. 

Former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, recently said, “Macri cannot leave” because he is the “best partner” for the U.S. Incumbent Macri entered office in 2015. Since then the peso has devalued by well over 50 percent and his administration took out a US$56.6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to try to recuperate the economy whose inflation rate rose by 25 points between July 2018 and July of this year. 

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