The photos of the President voting in a ballot box with a cut security strip are true

By Manuel Tarricone, from Reverso

The President of the Nation, Alberto Fernández, vote this morning at the headquarters of the Argentine Catholic University (UCA) in Puerto Madero. After he cast his vote, an image of the moment in which the president placed the envelope inside the ballot box began to circulate on social networks. The viral posts denounce that the security strips of the ballot box are broken and point out that it is an irregularity within the electoral process.

The photo is true, as it was not tampered with. The table where the President voted is under observation, as confirmed by the Buenos Aires electoral Justice. In addition, the National Electoral Chamber explained to Reverso that, in case of verification, the table where the President voted “may be null.”

What the posts say

Mainly 2 images circulated of the moment in which Fernández is inserting the envelope in the ballot box. In the first picture you can see the side of the urn with 2 vertical stripes that appear to be cut at the intersection with the top of the urn.

In the another image You can not only see the lateral part of the ballot box, but also the front, where the slot in which the vote is inserted is located, and which has a wider band than the lateral ones. This plane allows us to see that in the front part the sash is also broken.

The topic was very viral on social media. The word “Urn” was a trending topic -one of the most mentioned topics- on Twitter. Florencia Arietto, former official of the Ministry of National Security during Patricia Bullrich’s administration, public the photo and commented: “The open ballot box, everything is normal.” The post had more than 3,000 retweets and more than 8,000 “likes”. This post was also replicated by various users on Facebook. Then the former civil servant public another post in which he expanded the information.

The images are not adulterated

The 2 images are true. The first is an official photo published by the Presidency of the Nation. The second corresponds to a capture of the video, also broadcast by Casa Rosada, from the moment the President cast his vote this morning.

How to prepare the ballot box and the complaint

The National Electoral Code, in its article 82, establishes that the president of the polling station must receive the electoral materials before the start of the vote and “close the ballot box by putting a strip of paper on it that does not prevent the introduction of the voters’ envelopes, which will be signed by the president, the substitutes present and all the prosecutors ”.

However, it is habitual that the 2 vertical ribbons that can be seen on the side of the urn are cut. The table president can receive the ballot box armed or unarmed. If you receive it armed, you have the obligation to cut these strips and open the ballot box to verify that there is nothing inside before starting the elections. On the other hand, many times the tools and the standard come inside the ballot box, so it must be opened to remove these objects.

Therefore, this is common. In fact, former president Mauricio Macri published a photo of the moment he voted and those 2 vertical ribbons also appear cut off.

The official instructions of the National Electoral Chamber indicates that, after assembling the ballot box, the polling station authority must “place the security strip that it received among the electoral materials.” When inserting it, you must take care “that the opening for inserting the envelopes is free”. That is the wide girdle that should not be cut and that is placed after the initial check-up.

However, in the case of the ballot box in which the President voted, both strips appear to be broken. María Servini, a judge with electoral jurisdiction in the City of Buenos Aires, was consulted about this alleged irregularity. “I have drawn up a record with the president of the table and the delegate who was there. They said the ballot box was open, but the record says it was closed. It is under observation ”, he pointed in an interview with Radio Miter.

Reverso consulted the Court to expand this information, but until the moment of publication of the note, there was no response. According to the newspaper La Nación, the prosecutor Ramiro González, deputy in the prosecutor’s office with electoral jurisdiction, opened a file to determine if there were irregularities.

The candidate for Buenos Aires legislator for United Republicans Yamil Santoro presented a complaint for alleged breach of the National Electoral Code. According to that complaint, Article 139, subsection h) of said Code “It penalizes anyone who ‘by any means makes the scrutiny of an election impossible or defective,’ given that, if the strip in question is violated, it would be impossible to draw up a valid scrutiny in relation to said ballot box.”

This media also consulted the National Electoral Chamber. From the court they explained that, if the irregularity is proven, the table where the President voted “may be null.” The Presidency chose not to comment.

EThis note is part of Reverso, the collaborative journalistic project that brings together more than 100 media to intensify the fight against disinformation during the campaign. The contact ways to join are:

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Author: Manuel Tarricone

Edition 1: Matías Di Santi

Edition 2: Laura Zommer

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