Carlos Cordero writes in El Deber:
The Bolivian fiasco of the vote abroad
Long before the completion of the October elections, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal spokesmen said they anticipated enrollment in the external electoral roll of 660,000 Bolivians living in 33 countries. In some illuminated heads in the government team, had occurred them that it was possible to bring a good amount of votes from abroad to improve the electoral performance of the ruling party. The equation was simple and inviting. In the first electoral experience, in which Bolivian residents participated in other countries, fewer than 170,000 registered voters. At that time 75% of the votes of Bolivians living abroad favored the ruling party. Therefore, if the external standard was increased from 170,000 to 660,000 voters and similar to that achieved in the previous election vote was obtained, the benefit was significant.
The budget to meet the new volume of entries was Bs70 million. Something like Bs100 per vote of a fellow resident abroad. The mistakes of the Electoral Body and government strategists refer not only to the lack of transparency in the management and adequacy of the internal electoral process or the occurrence of renaming the Plurinational State ‘State Plurinominal’, but the distance between the coarse expected and what actually happened. For the October elections inscriptions were set up in 33 countries and the number of registered voters barely reached 272,000. Nearly 400,000 registered less than planned.
Of the 272,058 citizens eligible to vote, 168,000 voters were present at polling stations in 33 countries. Participated and voted 62% of registered and did not show up to vote 38% of those eligible. The ruling party could not even repeat the vote achieved in 2009, because although they won the election on the outside, it was with three percentage points less than in the past. If previously won with 75% on average in four countries; in 2014 and 33 countries achieved the 72.29%. If confirmed as Bs70 million went to the vote of Bolivians abroad, each external voting cost more than Bs400. Instead, the cost of each vote in Bolivia was around Bs27. External votes for the MAS rose 0.35%. Soon, very little for the investment made.
That without the cost of the travel, per diem and “gifts”, meals for those voters, by the masistas who did the campaigning. It really infuriates me how wistfully our export revenues are spent! Just to please the ego of the coca grower leader.