Pre-Elections: Day 4

  • Posted on: 6 February 2006
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

elections 6In total, we visited 9 polling stations today with varied capacities. Some were as large as 20,000 people, others just a few thousand. We began our day running back out to Carrefour to visit more sites along Route National 2.

While I have repeatedly tried (and failed) to report details in my blogs, I think it would behoove us all if I just did an overview of some points of interest.

Yesterday was the last day to campaign, also training was supposed to be complete, and voter registration cards were no longer being handed out. So today was a relatively calm day. I focused my attention on the CEP security details at these nine locations to establish the level of preparations that they perceived they received. (I not being a security expert). Everyone agreed that they had had sufficient training to know what to do in the event of security, although one gentleman asked me for gaz, or kerosene to throw at people to chase them off.

The complaints I received from the security personnel was always along the same lines, no one was properly equipped to handle a situation. Yesterday, I say men with batons, flex cuffs, and uniforms. However, today, many were in street clothes and lacked any tools of the trade. The second complaint, this came from poll workers as well, was that no food or water would be provided during their 11+ hour day tomorrow.

Polls open at 6 AM and officially close at 4. However, people in line at four are still able to vote. Once everyone has voted the voting center locks it doors with poll workers and observers inside to begin tabulation of the ballots. Each ballot will be counted (including those left blank and those discarded) and separated into piles by candidate. The top five winning candidates will be then pulled and recounted to recheck the count against the original tally. This will be done for each of the three races, Senate, House, and President.

Each polling center has at least one Biwo Vote (or voting bureau, BV). Each BV will have at least eight employees, 4 guards and 4 polling workers. A single BV has a list of 400 people that are assigned to vote at that particular location.The largest polling station we have visited so far has had 140 BVs, a staggering number to say the least. The level organization of at each BV varied from exceptional to marginal, but more of the former and not the latter.

We finished our day by establishing a plan for tomorrow. We will be at a chosen BV by 5:30 when the other workers arrive. We then plan to hop to at least 6 other BVs during the course of the day, and the close at a location near the consulate.

Overall, expectations are still positive. Violence has been next to non-existent. I will have a very long day tomorrow, looking push 20 hours, so I don’t plan on writing. But as they say in Haiti, si dye vle.

Bon chans. Kenbe fem, pa lage.

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