Salvadorans Set Early voting Record, 955% more Votes than 2019

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) registered more than 40,200 votes during the first 72 hours of early voting from abroad for the 2024 elections, through the electronic voting system over the Internet, according to three electoral sources. That is, at least 955.6 percent more diaspora votes than in the last presidential election, in 2019.

An internal source assured THE GREAIFIED PRENSA that, as of 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 8, about 40,200 votes had been registered online. Meanwhile, a second source added 40,000 votes until 3:00 p.m.

Official TSE figures analyzed by LPG Data reveal that, just three days after the Internet electronic voting system began, almost nine times as many votes have been registered than in the 2019 election, when Salvadorans cast the vote by post.

In the last presidential election, a total of 350,638 were registered to cast the vote from abroad. Of these, only 3,808, 1.0 per cent of the register voted, according to data provided by the institution.

Only in the advance vote on the Internet are registered to participate 741,094 Salvadorans with Single Document of Identity (DUI) domiciled abroad; of which more than 40,200 would have already cast the vote; that is, 5.4% of the electoral universe.

This represents the highest turnout rate in the history of the diaspora vote, which has not exceeded 1.9 percent since the 2014 presidential election.

Of the 741,094 Salvadorans enabled (for online voting) we have tripled or quadrupled compared to the votes that were obtained in the 2019 election.
Noel Orellana, Judge of the TSE.

The number of votes also grew by 955.67 % to only three days, of the 30 that this type of vote will be enabled, which began on Saturday, December 6, at 00:00 hours and will close on Sunday 4 February at 5:00 p.m. in El Salvador.

During the online interview Controversia Radio, the presiding judge of the TSE, Dora Martínez de Barahona, said that a first report has not been given to “be ordained,” and that it will be reported until Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

This, despite the fact that on Friday night, in statements to journalists, Martinez said that the number of votes cast would be seen until the closure of the digital urn on February 4, with the scrutiny by the Electoral Board of Vote in the Ali. This entity has only three members of the New Ideas, GANA and ARENA parties.

“We want to hold a press conference to make the information accurate. We have not given data, we have not given any reports, just to say that we have achieved a milestone by exceeding the vote of previous years,” said the official.

In statements to Noticiero Hechos, TSE judge Noel Orellana also welcomed the “massive” participation achieved with the Internet voting system, although he did not detail the number of votes registered by the institution.

“Of the 741,094 Salvadorans authorized to exercise vote abroad, we have tripled or quadrupled already compared to the votes that were obtained in the 2019 election, when Salvadorans had the right to vote for the postal vote,” he said.

THE GRIFIC PRESS tried to consult with three members of the JELVEX on whether there would be public access to this data in real time, but the alternate president of the temporary agency, Diego Benavides, said they were not authorized to give an opinion.

Report errors

During the first three days of voting, voters have also reported confusion over their right mode of electronic voting, as well as connectivity and recognition problems through the biometric system for voting on the Internet.

A citizen originally from Sonsonate and residing in San Francisco, California, told RANIFIC PRENSA that “there have been several drawbacks” to casting the vote.

“At first it was good, I managed to get into the website that granted the TSE, but in wanting to validate the vote I would get off the website, it would make mistake and (I’d like) to try again,” he said. Retrying the next day, the website rejected it by showing the message of “blooting in biometric process,” “favoring try again.”

Another Salvadoran resident in Florida, who asked to remain anonymous, said that this message arises when taking a photograph, and then you have to wait until 24 hours to try again. “He tells me he doesn’t recognize my face at the time of verifying the document,” he said.

Two internal TSE sources confirmed that during the first 48 hours there were “several errors” in the system, which were addressed at an emergency meeting on Monday with the executing company Indra.

I managed to get into the website that the TSE granted, but in wanting to validate the vote I would get off the website, make mistake and ask me to
I’ll try again.
Salvadoran, outside voter.

“They didn’t recognize mistakes. It has been said that there are problems of connectivity, of the biometric system, but they say there is no problem, if not obstacles,” said a source close to the collegiate body who requested anonymity.

The president of the TSE said that this error is due to the way the photograph is taken to identify itself. “If identification is not being achieved, it is because the person must approach or have artificial or solar light, but the image of his face looks good and clearly,” he said.

At least 30 people hired by the TSE would be validating people’s faces through the biometric system, verifying that Salvadorans with DUI and direction abroad are the only ones who will vote ahead of them, he said.

The official also invited Salvadorans abroad to cast the vote and “do not leave the exercise of their right on the last day,” as “there could be a saturation of the system” if all citizens vote on February 4.

Salvadorans enabled to cast the vote over the Internet must enter the TSE website or directly to the voting, complete the data of their DUI, perform biometric identification, cast the vote and download the vote receipt.

Key dates of electronic voting

The online electronic voting site will be available for 30 days, according to the TSE. These are the results at 72 hours.

15 December 2023
First remote VEX drill
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) carried out the first and only drill of the electronic voting system online on December 15. No official report was provided on the results of the drill, possible errors, or total votes that were processed during the exercise.

6 January 2024
Opening of electronic urn
The TSE officially began the electronic internet voting process at 00:00 on Saturday 6 January, with the opening of the electronic urn. The electronic voting system is monitored by JELVEX and only the custodians of the digital urn have access to the number of votes cast.

7 January 2024
First votes online
Internal sources of the TSE informed the RANIFIC PRENSA of the issuance of the first 3,079 votes of the diaspora in the electronic voting system on the Internet. The influx of voters grew after the early hours, due to connectivity errors and the biometric system to identify DUI.

8 January 2024
Voter numbers are overtaken
72 hours after the electronic voting system began, at least 40,200 Salvadorans have cast ballots online, according to TSE data. This number is nine times higher than the number of votes obtained in the last presidential election, where only 3,808 citizens voted by postal.

4 February 2024
Closing the vote online
The electronic urn will officially close at 5:00 p.m. on February 4, 2024, the day the elections begin on the national territory. On the same day, polling stations will be set up abroad where Salvadorans of the diaspora who have DUI leadership in El Salvador will vote.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Prensa Grafica