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  • Guatemala Elections: Over 23,000 Extra Votes Nulled
Published 3 July 2019

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal can't explain why 23,000 extra votes were originally counted during the June presidential race.

More than 23,000 extra votes were found to have been registered by Guatemalan official polls following the June 16 presidential election vote-counting.

The finding was made after comparing candidates' official figures with the ones that appear on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s (TSE) website.

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The total number of valid votes has varied since polls closed weeks ago. Since then, nine political parties have had more than 2,000 votes each subtracted from their totals as the TSE numbers continue to reveal inconsistencies.

The TSE had confirmed two weeks ago that its system had made an error in the vote-counting process. The electoral body has denied any kind of fraud several times, and its director, Gustavo Castillo, previously explained the agency's own software was to blame. Municipal and congressional elections were most affected, according to local media. 

This time, Castillo said the error was human and that some party numbers on ballots weren't clear or legible, so data was registered incorrectly.

"We have many cases of typos where we find a 7 that looks like a 4, a 5 that seems to be an 8, and things of that kind. That's why it happens," Castillo told reporters. 

When asked for a technical explanation, he replied he doesn’t have one and he would have to analyze the appearance of some 23,000 votes that aren't registered to specific voters.

Last week, Guatemalan state prosecutors raided the offices of the TSE as part of an investigation of alleged irregularities regarding national vote-counting. However, verification of seized documents has not yet begun and the prosecutors said they do not know when it will be carried out. 

Despite the differences between official figures and the ones on the site, candidates for the second round of presidential elections remain as center-left Sandra Torres of the  National Unity of Hope party, and center-right, Alejandro Giammattei of Vamos.

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