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News > Latin America

The Nicaraguan Elections Are Timely And Well Organized

  • Distribution of electoral material to polling stations, Nicaragua, Nov. 2, 2021.

    Distribution of electoral material to polling stations, Nicaragua, Nov. 2, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @LaSandino

Published 5 November 2021 (7 hours 32 minutes ago)
Opinion

On Nov. 7, Nicaraguans will be able to vote on 13,459 polling station boards that will be monitored by 163,877 proprietary and alternate prosecutors.

On Thursday, Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council (SEC) ratified that everything is ready so that the Nicaraguan general elections can begin at 6 am on Sunday. Below are some details of the organizational process that made it possible to guarantee this election's security and transparency.

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Delivery of credentials to polling stations board prosecutors: On Oct. 28, the SEC officially presented the credentials of the proprietary and alternate prosecutors of the 13,459 polling station boards to the legal representatives of the political parties and their alliances. To facilitate this process, on Aug. 25, electoral authorities presented the parties’ legal and technical representatives with a new digital platform for the registration and accreditation of prosecutors.

Using this digital tool, they were able to accredit 163,877 proprietary and alternate prosecutors of the polling station boards throughout the country. These are additional to the municipal, departmental, and national prosecutors which have been appointed for each political party, thus ensuring gender equity and rotation.

Verification of the indelible ink: On Oct. 27, political parties’ legal representatives, in company with their respective national prosecutors, verified the availability and quality of the indelible ink to be applied to voters, this in addition to the packaging of the electoral boxes to be used for the Nov. 7 election. Prior to the indelible ink being distributed to the polling station boards, a random sample of it was analyzed by legal representatives of the political parties.

The indelible ink to be used is non toxic and not removable. On contact with the skin, it acquires a visible dark color, takes about 10 seconds to dry and is resistant to water, soap, detergent, gasoline and other such. The mark left by the ink disappears with time without leaving any permanent effect. The indelible ink bottles are in the charge of each second member of the polling station boards.

Training for organization and operation of computing centers: On Oct. 24, the SEC carried out training in the organization and operation with the departmental, municipal and national computing centers to be inaugurated for the election. The computing centers are equipped to administer the transmission of the tally sheets, reception of the electoral records, electoral packages and other electoral and auxiliary materials, to check the arithmetic sum of votes cast, the timely resolution of appeals lodged, and to process the scrutiny data, obtaining as a result the municipal, departmental, and national result totals.

The training included the main functions of the municipal electoral councils and the departmental and regional electoral councils in the computing centers. Also explained were the functions of the tally sheet transmission centers of the polling station boards; the areas of reception and filing (electoral files, electoral packages, and other auxiliary electoral materials).

Validity of lapsed IDs: On Oct. 26, the Nicaraguan National Assembly unanimously approved “The Special Law for the Validity of Lapsed IDs” with the objective of allowing citizens to exercise their right to vote, without impediment, in the 2021 elections. This law has the objective of validating lapsed IDs solely to guarantee the right of citizens to universal, free, and sovereign suffrage. This right will be conceded only during the election.

On Nov. 6, the SEC offices for attention to the public will be opened until 5 pm. The objective of this disposition is that citizens who have requested ID replacement have the opportunity to collect them.

The electoral documents and their securities: On the Oct. 23, the SEC concluded the printing and reproduction of the electoral ballots to be use in the general election. The electoral ballot contains a variety of security elements, manufactured with avant-garde printing techniques, water marks, and the use of invisible ink, making it a secure document. An electoral ballot of this standard offers greater security and confidence in the electoral process, given that the possibility of illegally copying the document is considerably reduced. From the moment of its production, each package of 400 ballots was labeled with the name of its corresponding polling station board.

Packing and distribution of electoral bags: After completing the printing of the electoral ballots, the SEC arranged for the secure packaging of the electoral cases, which contain the documents such as the tally sheets, electoral ballots, the electoral roll and other paperwork. The electoral case also contains the auxiliary materials needed for the elections on the Polling station boards, such as manuals, bracelets, indelible ink and the health protection packets, among others.

After completing the packaging process, the SEC transferred the electoral cases from the national electoral warehouse to each department and municipality of the country, from where they will be distributed to each corresponding polling station in the neighborhoods and communities, securing them opportunely in each PSB so that citizens have all the conditions for the exercise of their sovereign right to suffrage.

Once started the distribution of electoral cases, the political parties received from the SEC the necessary information with which to trace and follow up the passage of the electoral cases, from the central warehouse to each polling station board. For this purpose, and making use of new technologies, the SEC took measures which permit the development of mechanisms with which to inform opportunely the political parties and the population in general, as to the location of the electoral cases.

Special technical teams in electoral information kiosks: On voting day, the SEC will put at the disposition of citizens, a group of technicians and technological equipment necessary to help locate more easily the polling station board corresponding to each voter.

These technicians will be located in the larger polling stations of the country, where the greater concentration of voters is found, in order to facilitate and speed up the voting process. In this way, citizens will be able to see, in the entrance to each voting center, which is their polling station board and where exactly it is located.

Voting day prohibitions: On Nov. 7, Electoral Law establishes a series of prohibitions, outstanding of which are the following:

a. Those not registered in the electoral roll are unable to vote, except in exceptional circumstances established by electoral law.

b. Voting is not permitted using a photocopy of ID, photocopy of the 2021 supplementary voting document or of a supplementary voting document from previous elections.

c. In no case will a citizen be allowed to vote accompanied by someone.

d. Citizens carrying any type of party propaganda, or those in a state of drunkenness or carrying knives or firearms, are not allowed to enter the voting center.

e. Activities must not be permitted which tend to impede or perturb the normal voting process, such as the use of cellphones inside the Polling station boards.

f. Voting outside the place and time indicated for such is not allowed.

g. The fraudulent introduction of electoral ballots or the extraction of these from the electoral urn constitute an electoral crime.

h. It is not permitted to destroy, alter or remove from the polling station any paperwork or other electoral material.

i. Members of the electoral personal are not allowed to abandon the PSB during the electoral process.

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