|Juan Orlando Hernández, President-elect of Honduras|
Elections are over. Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH, as he is known in Honduras) is officially the next president of Honduras, winning about 34% of the vote. He will take office January 27, 2014. The election process was declared free and transparent by international observer organizations. No vote recounts will be done by the TSE (Honduras' election authority) despite numerous and some very valid claims of errors and even fraud. TSE says that their only obligation is to certify the actas (explained later) not the ballots. The international auditor says the same. Despite election observer organization positive reports to the contrary, organizations such as OAS provided long lists of changes that are necessary and even the TSE has campaigned for changes to the election law.
Candidates showed proof on television and online of serious errors if not downright fraud both within the polling places as well as within the TSE. Often the claims of errors could be confirmed by viewing the scanned documents on the TSE website. I saw and verified enough to convince me that some of the diputado (congressman) races deserved a fresh count of the ballots.
The election process
|Registered voter lists|
Voters move to a private table to mark 'x's' on ballots which include names, party designations, and color photos of the candidates (separate presidential, congress, municipal ballots) and deposit them in the appropriate ballot box. The voter's pinky is inked so that he cannot vote again.
The biggest fallacy in the system is that the legitimacy of the election results relies on the independence and honesty of the poll workers. Each voting table is supposed to have a poll representative and a substitute from each party (eight parties this year) to ensure honesty in the count, though that doesn't happen in most cases in much of the country. Rather than 16 or even 8 poll workers, many of the actas that I viewed online were signed by four or even fewer poll workers. Polling places may start out the day with representatives from each party, but often some leave before the actual count is done. Additionally, political parties and individuals are known to traffic in polling credentials (which are issued in blank to the parties, not the individuals), selling their badges to the highest bidder. Channel 10 news interviewed one poll worker who proudly stated that he was a Nacionalista though he couldn't explain why he was wearing a badge from another party. At the location where J voted, the LIBRE party workers loudly stated that they would only verify known LIBRE party voters. In a small town, every knows who has what party loyalty.