Presidential Election Day in Ecuador started with long lines in major urban centers and delays in opening tables inside.
Thirteen million Ecuadorians are expected this Sunday (7) in the polling stations. The main candidates in the conflict are Andrés Arauz, backed by former President Rafael Correa, center-right Guilhermo Lasso and indigenous leader Yaku Pérez.
Although authorities have ordered voters to vote at separate times – in the morning those with ID with the even ending, and in the afternoon those with the odd ending – to avoid crowds, in the early hours of this Sunday (7), that was not accomplished.
“We can’t ask that, we always vote together, then we have lunch and we each have things to do. Here in Quito, you always try to vote in the morning and together because you have to go to the polling station. Separating everyone’s vote disturbs the family, ”said Nataly Junqueira, 29, at a polling center in Quito, on the outskirts of the city.
She was accompanied by her father, who works in a food market, her husband, who is a taxi driver and sister-in-law. Junquera, is a waitress, but without a job. She takes care of the couple’s two children.
“We are very concerned about the impact of the pandemic on voting. First of all because of these difficulties in maintaining social distance in queues and towns. Then, because there are candidates playing with the fear of contamination, which can impact the participation rate. On the other hand, the authorities must respect sanitary measures so that no one is infected, ”said American David Adler, an observer for the progressive international organization, to Folha.
Ecuador faces a further rise in coronavirus cases, which some epidemiologists have already identified as a second wave. On Saturday (6), a new record was recorded for the number of people infected and killed across the country. This time, the epicenter of the new cases is the province of Pichincha, where the country’s capital, Quito, is located.
According to the Ministry of Health, 1,672 other people were hospitalized on Saturday, a record this year.
In recent days, the number of hospitalized for the disease has surpassed a thousand, threatening the country’s hospital system. Ecuador this weekend hit the 15,000 dead mark, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The vote count is concerning, because in the last presidential election there was a “blackout”, when the counting system fell, and this raised doubts as to whether all the votes had been counted. .
As the difference between the winner, the current president, Lenín Moreno, and the finalist, Guillermo Lasso, was very small, he came out to protest saying that there was fraud. Voting is not electronic in the country.
“It would be important that this does not happen again, so as not to generate demonstrations, which will be negative for the legitimation of the result, and may generate agglomerations which increase the risk of contagions. For now, we notice that there are few party inspectors to oversee the count. And that can be problematic, ”says Adler.
Election in Ecuador
260 international observers follow the election, in addition to 2,540 nationals
13 million Ecuadorians have the right to vote
2,036 electoral zones are installed in the country, while 101 are abroad
What positions are at stake?
President, members of the National Assembly and Ecuadorian members of the Andean Parliament, which brings together 25 representatives from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.
Is there a second shift?
Yes, if no candidate obtains 50% of the valid votes plus one, or 40% with a difference of 10 percentage points for the finalist, there will be a second round, scheduled for April 11.
Is voting compulsory?
Yes for Ecuadorians aged 18 to 65, and there is a fine for unjustified absence. For those aged 16 and 17 or over 65, participation in the election is voluntary.
Is there an early vote?
No, but this year 653 Ecuadorians took part in the Voto em Casa, which allowed people over 50 and physically disabled to compromise 75% or more of their mobility to exercise this right. These votes were collected Friday (5), by the electoral commissions.
Is the vote electronic?
No, the vote is on paper, but this year the National Electoral Council is conducting a test with voters in the USA, Canada and Argentina for three forms of voting: telematic, in which the Internet is used to transmit the vote, by the through a system activated by the CNE; electronic, but unlike in Brazil, the ballot box receives the ballot, reads the vote and issues a receipt so that the voter can confirm that the choice is correct; and by correspondence, with prior delivery of the ballot papers.
What are the preventive measures for the coronavirus?
The CNE divided the vote into time slots according to the last number of the identity card. Whoever has the document ending in an even number must go and vote between 7 am and 12 noon. For odd numbers, the time is between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. There are also measures like going to the polling station alone, keeping your distance and wearing a mask, in addition to the recommendation to bring your own pen.