Polls opened at 07:00hrs and will close at 17:00hrs (local time). Ecuadoreans will also renew the electoral and legislative power by voting on 144 authorities and Andean Parliament members. The National Electoral Council registered over 2000 national and international observers to monitor the process. Most polls forecast that progressive Union for Hope (UNES) presidential candidate Andres Arauz will win in the first round of voting.
4:15 -pm National Electoral Council spokesperson José Cabrera said that citizens who, due to long lines, cannot vote by 5:00 p.m., will receive their attendance certificate but will not be able to exercise their right to vote. Voting is mandatory in Ecuador for people over 18 years old.
Cabrera remarked that to avoid crowds, the National Electoral Council president authorized the opening of the polling stations' doors but asked people to respect social distancing measures.
"There was a lot of accumulation in the precincts; that is why the national security tables requested that the doors be opened and that there be a normal flow. In the beginning, 20 people were allowed to pass, then 50 people, but there are many people outside the precincts," the official recalled.
The day has been marked by accusations of irregularities related to access to polling stations, prohibitions to observers to monitor the process, and extremely long lines in Ecuador and abroad, as thousands still await for the opportunity to cast their votes less than two hours before the polls close. Nonetheless, CNE authorities keep repeating that they expect that all people will be able to vote.
"Nationals l For this purpose, the authorities have been asked to open the doors of the precincts and to speed up the process. The details."
3:45 -pm Union for Hope candidate Andres Arauz asked the National Electoral Council authorities to extend voting hours, given the long lines that persist outside the polling places.
"I went to Colegio Santo Domingo de Guzman to pick up my certificate of attendance. I request the CNE, in accordance with the binding criteria of the Attorney General and constitutional law, to allow the constitutional right to vote of those who are in line at 17h00 to be respected."
2:50 -pm Less than three hours before the polling stations close, two U.S. journalists have denounced that observers face access restrictions by authorities from the National Electoral Council under the excuse of “biosecurity” measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
12:20 -pm Ecuadorean residents in Genoa, Italy, call out line ups that are more than 3km long and lousy management from electoral authorities, which set a small polling station for more than 14,000 voters. Also, in Venezuela, Ecuadorean residents complain about the lack of organization from the electoral authorities.
Extremely long queues also remain in Barcelona, Spain, and provinces in Ecuador. The Union for Hope (UNES) party claims that these long lines are part of a right-wing force's strategy to delay the votes.
"COMPLAINT | We denounce to the world what is happening during the #Elections2021Ec. The right-wing strategy is to delay voting in popular sectors while in the centers where representatives of the oligarchy vote, they do so smoothly."
"Ecuadorean voters in Venezuela ask for better organization of voting center. Consul reports that they are allowed a limited seating capacity of the center for 200 people. Biosecurity measures slow down the manual process, unlike automated voting in Venezuela."
"More than 3 km. of the queue for Ecuadoreans in Genoa to be able to exercise our right to vote, with terrible management of a consulate that got a 600 m2 room for 29 polling stations and almost 14,000 voters.
11:50 -am The two main presidential candidates besides Andres Arauz, Guillermo Lasso and Yaku Perez, have also cast their votes."
Guillermo Lasso said that he feels confident in a second round.
11:15 -am The National Electoral Council (CNE) reports the first update on the electoral process. According to the authorities, it remained peaceful as the polling stations followed biosecurity measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President of the National Electoral Council, Diana Atamaint, said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CNE added 611 polling stations, so it is essential for people to verify the address. There are 38.806 polling stations.
Also, the CNE recalled in a statement that the theft of ballot papers is a major crime after the authorities found a citizen carrying ballots in Manabí province.
"We have used technology for these #Elecciones2021Ec. Through #CNEApp, citizens can check their polling place. We remember that due to the pandemic's effects, we have increased 611 precincts, it is important to verify voting location, points out.
10:45 - am Ecuadorean residents in New Jersey go to the polls despite heavy snowfall. More than 410,000 Ecuadoreans living abroad are registered on the electoral roll.
"Ecuadorean citizens residing in the U.S. vote this moment in New Jersey, despite the weather conditions! #EcuadorDecide."
10:15 am - Presidential candidate for the Union for Hope (UNES) Andres Arauz accompanied his grandmother to vote. He cannot vote because he is registered in Mexico.
10:00 am - Ecuadorean voters denounce irregularities in the country and abroad as well. Polling stations in Guayaquil opened 40 minutes late. In Quito, residents complain that the polling stations were not ready, which discourages them from voting.
Ecuadorean residents are also casting their votes in Venezuela, Spain, Germany, and Belgium. Former president Rafael Correa denounced via Twitter irregularities in Brussels. Eight delegates from Guillermo Lasso's right-wing CREO movement observed voting, while representatives from other organizations were not allowed to access the polling station.
Over 52 000 police members are deployed nationwide.
"Citizens' discomfort at the Benalcázar school site, claiming that the boards are not ready and the delay causes people to leave."
"52,000 police officers are deployed nationwide, committed to providing #CitizenSecurity and public order, ensuring democracy and guaranteeing rights and freedoms."
09:15 am - Ecuadorean residents in Brussels, Belgium, denounce that they did not receive ballots to elect Andean Parliament members.
"EcuadorDecide2021 Ecuadoreans residing in #Brussels #Belgium denounce that ballots for the Andean Parliament did not arrive at this precinct."
08:50 am- The Vice-President of the Electoral Board of Pichincha, Emilio Castaño, says that, unlike other elections, there is absenteeism thus far. Since Friday, over 653 disabled people have cast their votes at home following biosecurity measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other parts of the country report long lines, but voters complain that social distancing measures are not followed.
Earlier in the morning, the National Electoral Council denied the entry to its headquarters to several media outlets without previous notice. They were told that it was an order from the Vice-Presidency as part of security measures.
"Emilio Castaño, Vice President of the Electoral Board of Pichincha, indicates that there is absenteeism so far, unlike other election days."