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News > Chile

Chile Mega-Elections: Polls Officially Close at 6 PM Local Time

  • Two Chilean women after casting their votes in the country's mega-elections at a polling station in La Pintana, Santiago, Chile. May 15, 2021.

    Two Chilean women after casting their votes in the country's mega-elections at a polling station in La Pintana, Santiago, Chile. May 15, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/@ChileTodayNews

Published 16 May 2021

Despite two days of low voter turnout, millions of Chileans have cast their vote for the 155 members of the convention that will draft the new Constitution, 16 governors, 345 mayors, and 2,252 councilors. Polls closed at 6:00 pm local time. 

Similar to Saturday, when voting for Chile's mega-elections began, polling stations on Sunday received voters from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm local time. An estimated 20 percent of voters cast their ballots on the first day of the historic election, which was postponed from April 11 due to the new wave of the pandemic affecting the South American country.

Despite some difficulties with installing the polling stations on both Saturday and Sunday, the Chilean Electoral Service (SERVEL) considered that 99.7 and 99.2 percent of them were already in operation after midday on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.


Chile Decides on the Future of its Constitution - Live Updates

Left-wing activists and politicians had urged Chileans to vote on both days before polls closed Sunday, as the mega-elections have been marked by low voter turnout, potentially jeopardizing the Chilean left's progressive agenda and hope for securing a majority of the country's legislative and executive seats. 

Left candidates warn that "low electoral participation in Chile would favor right-wing candidates who could be massively seated in the constitutional convention," according to teleSUR correspondent Paola Dragnic.

The counting of votes will begin after 6:00 pm local time on Sunday, and the results for the members of Chile's constitutional convention will be announced by 9:00 pm local time, according to government spokesman Minister Jaime Bellolio.

"Today from the Palacio de La Moneda, together with Minister @JaimeBellolio, we took stock of these #Elecciones2021CL and reinforced the importance of participating. There are still hours left for everyone to go to their polling places."
Bellolio noted that while the polls were technically closed at 6 pm, legally, no polls can close until everyone in line has finished voting, which could implicate votes coming in hours afterward.
While some of the results for the gubernatorial, mayoral, and councilmembers races could start to be published during the course of the night, the announcement of definitive results could take up to a week, Chile's electoral authorities announced.
This weekend's elections come after Chilean's overwhelmingly voted to draft a new constitution in October 2020, following mass protests the year before demanding significant overhauls of the country's political and economic systems as well as a sweeping transformation of the country's Pinochet-era constitution. 
In the convention that will draft Chile's new constitution, indigenous peoples will have 17 seats reserved, and at least 50 percent of the members will be women. For the first time in the 200 years of Chile's existence as a republic, representatives elected by popular vote will draft the new Chilean constitution.

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