Presidential ballot verification begins in Haiti amid controversy and delay
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — Following the decision by the Office of National Electoral Litigation (BCEN) to authorize the verification of 1,560 Procès Verbaux (PV), the official voters lists (some 12 percent of the total) of Haiti’s November 20 presidential election the verification began on Tuesday, amid much tension, difficulties and delays.
In addition, the electoral court decided, after consultation with the parties, to include the 27 PVs of Jean-Charles Moïse and the 364 of Jude Célestin submitted to the court for verification. This number of PVs is included in the total of 1,560 PV to be verified, HaitiLibre reported.
The start of the verifications, scheduled for midday, did not begin until 7.00 pm due to the failure of the parties to agree, among other things, on the method to be used to select the sampling of the 12 percent of the PVs.
According to the methodology finally adopted, it was agreed that the PV numbers chosen randomly, and taking into account the size of each department, be read aloud, as well as the number of votes obtained for each candidate and the reason for the PV. Then, each protesting party is allowed a few minutes to examine with their eyes, without touching, the PV protected under plastic and then to give their comments.
The 27 PVs filed by Jean-Charles Moïse were the first to be checked but not without difficulties. The plaintiffs, who had a common front, wanted the database, the signatures, fingerprints, etc. to be verified in addition to the authenticity of the national voter identification (CIN) numbers.
Some lawyers questioned a fingerprint, others the CIN number and the fingerprint that according to them did not correspond, or an absence of signature. They proposed to bring in the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire or DCPJ (Central Directorate of the Judicial police) in order to evaluate the fingerprints, a request that was dismissed by the tribunal.
The complainants claimed that the tribunal did not give them enough time to verify the lists of “émargements”, and each PV, while on the side of the winning party (PHTK), Rudy Hériveaux believed that it was mainly for the plaintiffs to waste time, convinced that they do not seek to verify, but to block as in 2015, the electoral process while only nine days remain before the deadline for publication of the final results of the presidential election.
As midnight approached, the verification of Jean-Charles Moïse’s 27 PVs was still unfinished and the electoral judge Jean Simon St-Hubert, exasperated by the behaviour of the lawyers involved, threatened to leave the premises to force them to respect what had been decided and stop making systematic obstructions.