As Nicaragua prepares for national elections in November, the domestic observation group Ethics and Transparency (ET) is ramping up efforts to engage citizens in election monitoring activities and a demand for free and transparent polls.
Through a new website, www.vivaelvoto.com, launched June 28, the group is bolstering an ongoing campaign asking all Nicaraguans to become citizen observers and report any electoral problems that compromise the process.
Citizens can report rights violations and other abuses through the interactive website. A map of Nicaragua shows the location of different types of irregularities as they are reported and verified.
The citizens’ reports are grouped into five categories: violations of citizens' rights; lack of voter information; electoral campaign irregularities; intimidation, threats and conflicts; and administrative irregularities. To ensure accuracy, reports may be published on the map only after the information has been verified in the field by one of ET’s 240 expert volunteers.
In a country where the last elections generated accusations of fraud and electoral authorities have announced plans to limit national and international observer credentials for November’s elections, the website is a way for all Nicaraguans to become active observers and report incidents that violate their right to free and transparent elections. Reporting can be done by phone, mobile text message, email or in person to ET volunteers working in municipalities.
The website is a key component of a broader ET civic education and participation campaign focused on encouraging every Nicaraguan to become an observer and demand fundamental components of a credible election, including access to a national identity card, fair electoral campaigns, universal suffrage, and a transparent process to count votes and publish results.
NDI provided technical assistance to ET to develop the website and produce promotional materials that will strengthen the “Viva el voto, que gane el voto” campaign, which translates to “Long live the vote, let the vote win.”
The Institute has worked in Nicaragua to strengthen democratic institutions and practices since 1990. This year, NDI is supporting nonpartisan election monitoring by local civil society organizations to promote transparency and the integrity of the national elections, monitor the national identification card distribution process, and provide civic education on electoral reforms and the electoral process.
- Nicaraguan press coverage of the website launch in Spanish in LaPrensa and ElNuevoDiario
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Pictured above: The homepage for vivaelvoto.com
Published July 7, 2011.