Observers throughout the country are reporting massive participation in the elections. By 4pm, with an hour until the polls close, a source in Soyapango stated that they had observed a participation of 60%.
Early exit polling has shown Funes up by a significant margin. However, these results are preliminary, and carry a large margin of error. A representative of FESPAD stated that by their estimates the winning candidate needs a margin of victory of at least 90,000 votes to be confident that the outcome was not influenced by fraud.
In addition to the power outage in Apopa for most of the day, electricity went out at 3 voting centers in Soyapango at 4pm. Because the results must be transmitted digitally, these outages have worrisome implications for the processing and announcement of the final results. Any delays to the announcement of victory will likely heighten tensions.
FESPAD (the Foundation for the Application of Law) stated that they are receiving a fewer total number of complaints of logistical problems with the electoral process than in January. However, a representative from FESPAD said that the complaints they are receiving are more serious than in January.
The majority of irregularities reported to FESPAD fall into three categories:
1) Influencing voters with t-shirts, inappropriate campaigning, food, or money
2) Obstruction of voting; for example, a business reportedly did not let its workers vote
3) Large concentrations of people (suspicious), ARENA is claiming that they are people working in ‘logistica’
Thankfully, there are very few reports of violence, and only 3-4 cases of people attempting vote twice.
Now that the polls are closed, all attention turns to counting the votes and reporting them to the TSE center. Voices staff will be at the TSE center for the rest of the evening, monitoring the process. We will continue to monitor the power outages and report any results as they come in.