The OAS/EOM maintained an almost permanent presence in Haiti since June 2015 in order to observe the progress of the electoral process firsthand. During this time, a total of 504 observers of 27 different nationalities were deployed on five separate occasions.
The Chief of Mission, Uruguayan ambassador Juan Raúl Ferreira, indicated that the Mission observed improvements regarding the use of a new partition design in voting booths that considerably enhanced voting secrecy, greater control over the presence of representatives of political parties, and the introduction of a new kind of indelible ink. ¨Over the course of the last two years, several key elements of electoral organization have gradually improved; this might be attributed to greater knowledge accrued among the electoral authorities and to improved management of the process by the national authorities, ¨ he said.
However, the Chief of Mission pointed out that electoral processes in Haiti still face important challenges, amongst which he highlighted the low turnout rate and the lack of a mechanism that allows for notifying the public of the preliminary results within a reasonable timeframe. In its report, the Mission reiterated the need for a comprehensive reform of the laws that regulate Haiti’s electoral system, which would lend greater legal certainty to future elections.
Among other recommendations, the EOM underlined the need to create two standing electoral bodies that are permanent and whose functions are clearly separated between electoral organization and electoral justice. In addition, bearing in mind the need to have an accurate voter roll and that Haitian ID cards are set to expire in 2017, the Mission recommended that these be replaced with new ones; which would translate directly into an update of the civil registry and, consequently, of the voter registry.