What happened to the registration of ballot papers to vote in March – Political Parties – Politics

This is clear from the consolidated figures that the National Registry delivered in the last hours, and that showed how the process of registering Colombians to participate in the March elections was, which reached 2,611,750 documents.

(In other news: Echeverry explains the reasons for his departure from the Team for Colombia)

On some occasions, the registration of identification cards is used by some campaigns to mobilize voters from one place to another and, with this, obtain more votes in a municipality than they would otherwise have. This phenomenon is known as transhumance or voter shuffling.

(You can read: Elections: when will the elections be in Colombia this 2022?)

One of the striking cases is that of Guaviare, for example, where it went from having 3,167 citizens registered to vote in the 2018 congressional elections, to 9,171 recorded this time. This meant an increase of 190 percent in this procedure and that this was the department in which the registration of identification cards increased the most.

At the moment, sources from the National Registry told EL TIEMPO that among the reasons that would explain this increase in ID registrations would be the establishment of kiosks at strategic points in several cities in the country, such as shopping malls, for example.

Another reason could be that consultations will also be held on March 13 to select candidates for the first presidential round, which may have encouraged more voters to participate.

But one of the reasons that could also explain this increase would be the incorporation of the digital registration of documents, which allowed this procedure to be carried out, even from the cell phone.

For the 2018 legislative elections, 185,447 citizens changed their polling place and for the elections on March 13, 119,169 did so, which meant a 36 percent reduction in these records.

For some observers, a possible cause for this could be the supposed absence of criminal structures such as the one that former congresswoman Aída Merlano had in that department and that was dismantled by the authorities in an operation that began the same day as the 2018 legislative elections.

These electoral irregularities in the Atlantic also led to a conviction against Merlano, who is currently on the run from the authorities and his last appearance was several months ago in Venezuela.

Once the registration of identification cards for the elections of the next Congress and the consultations were closed, the National Registry began a process of verification and confirmation of these records, in order to make the necessary modifications in the Electoral Census, that is, in the base of Data of citizens qualified to vote.

Legislative elections and consultations will be on Sunday, March 13.


Esneyder Gutierrez

Sources from the Registrar’s Office explained to this newspaper that it is an issue of voter mobility, that, in fact, already appeared in the Electoral Census and they are only changing the place where they will vote on the next democratic day.

If the electoral authorities begin to detect cases of transhumance or voter smuggling, the records of these people will be canceled and the citizen must vote in the place that he did before.

In addition, it receives the sanctions contemplated by law for these cases. However, until now the registration of identity cards has been closed and it is not possible to know if these procedures are necessarily due to this crime.

Taking into account the comparison with 2018, it increased by 35 percent

It should be noted that the most recent purge that the electoral entity made of this database was in December, when a new exercise was carried out to exclude deceased persons and duplicate records. With the registration of identification cards, what is done is a reorganization of the Electoral Census rather than a purification of this document.

As to the presidential elections, the Registrar informed that the registration of identification cards is still open at its headquarters and that the platform to do it virtually will be enabled again from January 30. This procedure will close on March 29.

This means that citizens who have changed their place of residence or wish to change their site to vote and want to participate in the elections for the next head of state still have time to complete this procedure.

According to figures from the National Registry, 62 percent of document registrations were made through this modality, which had the option of registering the identity card on a web platform or through an app that could be installed on the cell phone.

Of the total of 2,611,750 citizens who changed their polling place, 1,622,102 did so virtually. That figure meant 62 percent of all registrations.
In the case of citizens residing abroad, of the total of 110,008 who registered their identity card, 55,352 did so in embassies and consulates –in the traditional way– and 54,655 through the platform that the Registry enabled for it.

A few days ago, several citizens denounced flaws in the system, which required several steps to make the registry firm, including a biometric identification of the voters to access certain steps.

After a few hours of emergency, the electoral entity reported that the service was developing normally, after the platform enabled for this type of registration was reinforced.

In fact, the registration of candidates for Congress also took advantage of these technological tools. Of the 2,966 registered applicants, 937 accepted their candidacy remotely and with facial biometric validation.

Undoubtedly, the new digital mechanism made it easier for several Colombians who wanted to change their polling place to be encouraged to register.

Additionally, it represented one more precautionary measure against the pandemic, before which some citizens still prefer to avoid face-to-face contact and stay away from possible covid infections.

Several observers pointed out that this could be a demonstration that when democracy adapts to the needs of citizens, participation mechanisms such as voting could increase substantially.

This experiment seems to be an advance in the implementation of technological mechanisms for the exercise of democracy, such as electronic voting, which is an outstanding debt in the country.

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