Though Wednesday is the cut off date for politicking, giving Costa Ricans a few days to ponder without propaganda their decision for Sunday, February 4. However, a number of candidates closed their campaigns (though not officially) on Sunday, with public events and the television cameras rolling.
The Wednesday deadline is not only for the politicians and political parties to stop campaigning, it is also for pollsters who can, on that day, publish their last numbers.
And while this 2018 Presidential campaign has been rather dull, only in the last couple of days has it heated up, as polls indicate no real front-runner, not even the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) candidate, Antonio Alvarez Desanti, who had been thought of a shoe-in.
The polls indicate the largest number of voters are the undecided.
Though no one is predicting a runaway winner, political experts do agree on the strong possibility of a run-off election. In Costa Rica, the popular vote wins the day. But there is a caveat, the next president is not only the candidate with the most votes but the candidate with the most votes of 40% of all votes.
That is to say, if the elections have been held yesterday, Sunday, according to the polls, no one candidate would have reached the required 40% to win. The same result is expected next Sunday.
What could change all that is voter apathy.
For its part, the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones de Costa Rica (TSE) – the Elections Tribunal – is urging a vote to “honor democracy and freedom and fulfill the responsibility they have as citizens.”
The TSE is calling for citizens to inform themselves and go to the polls on February 4.
“Vote with the dignity of those who know themselves free and with the maturity of those who know they are responsible. (…) The government that will assume in May we will have built it among all, both those who will vote and those who abstain, we will be jointly responsible for what occurs. We will all receive the effects of the decision that we as a society adopt at the polls next Sunday,” said Luis Antonio Sobrado, president of the TSE, in a message broadcast on national television Sunday night.
One of the presidential candidates’ slogan says it best, “voter por algo” (vote for something).
On Sunday, February 4, the polling stations will be open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. In addition, Costa Ricans overseas, in 42 countries where Costa Rican has a consulate, the polls are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Voters who don’t know where they are registered to vote, they can call the number 1020 or visit the TSE website.