The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) – elections tribunal – has handed over to the judicial police a mystery – the appearance of a block of voting ballots that appeared in the hands of the Spanish daily newspaper the Diario Extra..
The TSE assures that no block of ballots is missing, all printed are accounted for. However, the daily managed to get their hands on copies of the April 6 runoff election ballot, which was turned over to the newspaper by “a source”.
The TSE chief of elections, Luis Antonio Sobrado, made clear that these particular ballots were only to be in the possession of the poll officials and only on election day. Whoever may have let them slip has violated the law and made vulnerable the validity of the whole process, the official said.
The official says that he recognized the marks on the dorsal part of the ballot and that it is either one if the originals or a very good copy but he doesn’t know whether someone scanned an example fresh off the press or if the example is an original.
The ICE press – and not the Imprenta Nacional (the national printer) – is in charge of printing replacements for the ballots which will now be destroyed. The new ballots will still have the two names and photos of the candidates on it but will also have distinctive marks TSE added to identify valid ballots.
ICE was chosen as a backup print shop in case of contingencies, according to TSE spokesman Gustavo Roman. The first choice was R & R Donnelly of Santo Domingo de Heredia, which printed the Feb. 2 regular election ballot and the now-invalid second round ballot.
TSE meanwhile alerted the Election Registration to open an investigation into why April 6 ballots got into unauthorized hands. TSE also tighten security by delivering the ballots to electoral auxiliaries and not presidents of polling booth boards.
Roman said that both parties, Citizen Action Party (PAC) and National Liberation, in the runoff election April 6 have been asked to submit a new list of polling booth monitors. Roman noted that TSE faces an unusual situation in which the Liberation candidate has withdrawn from contention.
Roman stoutly denied that fraud was involved in the appearance of ballots outside the closely watched election officialdom. Costa Ricans are sensitive about the validity of their elections since 1948 when a civil war was fought over election fraud.
Some 3,078,321 ballots will be printed.
With notes from iNews.co.cr