Inside a former gym turned elections headquarters, 120 operators field calls from confused Haitian voters needing to know where to cast their votes on Election Day.
The 24-hour call center is among several fixes Haitian elections officials have started putting into place ahead of March 20’s critical presidential and legislative runoff.
But many doubt whether the improvements, including new education requirements for poll workers and color tally sheets to help deter fraud, will be enough to boost voter confidence and prevent the high-level of fraud and disorganization that marred November’s first round of balloting.
“We are preparing to observe. What, we don’t know,’’ said Pierre Esperance, whose election observer group published detailed reports of fraud and voter intimidation at polling stations. “I have no confidence in the electoral machine.’’
Provisional Electoral Council President Gaillot Dorsinville recently told legislative candidates and representatives of presidential contenders Mirlande Manigat and Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly that his beleaguered body was “prepared to make all of the corrections necessary to better the second round.’’
Among the changes:
Firing about 500 poll workers and supervisors from voting centers marred by high numbers of fraudulent and irregular votes.
The change is a welcomed one but critics say arresting poll workers and imposing sanctions on candidates found guilty of orchestrating the fraud and voter intimidation would send a much stronger message.
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