Preliminary Report of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras

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The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Honduras, headed by former President of Bolivia Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, deployed a team of 82 experts and observers from 25 countries to cover the general elections held on November 26.
The Mission began by dispatching an advance technical team to the country on October 30 to observe the preparation of the electoral cases (maletas electorales, containing election materials), the training being given to members of the polling stations, and the delivery of their credentials, along with other aspects relating to the transmission and dissemination of results, including demonstrations and the test run drill on November 12.
On November 6 that team was joined by the mobile group observers, who traveled to the different departments in the country to observe in situ the progress being made with preparations for the elections and to meet the actors involved in the electoral process.

The Mission completed its deployment with the arrival of the experts, regional coordinators, and international observers, together with the Head of Mission and the Special Advisor to the EOM, former President of Guatemala Álvaro Colom.

During its stay in Honduras, the Mission met with government and electoral authorities, political parties and coalitions, the Supreme Court of Justice, representatives of civil society, the electricity company (Empresa de Energía de Honduras), and the diplomatic community, as well as other actors. The experts conducted a substantive analysis of the electoral process in terms of its organization, the technology used, campaign financing, gender perspective, electoral justice, and facilities for voting abroad.

On Election Day, the Mission visited 1,257 polling stations (Mesas Electorales Receptoras - MER) in 451 voting centers in 17 departments. The OAS observers reported delays in the opening of some of the observed polling stations, due mainly to the lack of some essential voting materials, such as the "ratified" stamp used to mark the back of the voting slips and confirm that the slip filled in by the voter is the same as the one that was given to him/her. Although the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Superior Electoral - TSE) issued instructions to the effect that in those polling stations without a stamp polling station members could sign the slips instead, many did not open until the stamp arrived. In others, polling station members signed the slips. The delays in opening the stations triggered long lines of voters and confusion among the electorate.