Verification Commission to Review Only 15% of Tally Sheets

On Friday, May 8, 2016, the Election Verification and Evaluation Commission left many observers and analysts stunned by announcing that they could verify only 15% of the total tally sheets on its audit of the troubled 2015 election. This announcement of 'quick count' perhaps came out of mounting U.S Pressure which is pushing Haitian leaders and the Evaluation Commission to speed up and complete the evaluation on such a small size without further delaying a much delayed election process.


Some human rights organizations and some Haitian political parties, including Pitit Dessalines, have already expressed their objections to this methodology and have insisted to verify all 13,725 minutes of the last election. Some oppositions have even argued that the sampling process will be used as a smokescreen to remove their candidates from the contest.

It is believed that one of the main contributors to this stigma is Mr. Kenneth Merten, who is Haiti's Special Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the bureau of western hemisphere affairs since August 17, 2016, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Haiti (2008-- 12) who was appointed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is a key figure in a number of scandals including the accusation of changing the 2010 election results unilaterally. He is one of the interagency players involved in carrying out U.S. policy in Haiti. We might remember that in the recent election, over 5.8 million registered voters cast their votes in about 10,000 polling stations. Millions of dollars, estimated between estimated $70 million to $80 million went up in flames of which only 6% of the total funding came from Haiti's own treasury. The election in Haiti is never an easy mission. As per François Benoît, the President of the Commission, 15% sample size might carry a chance of 20% marginal error (which is much higher than 3 to 5% margin of error as was proclaimed by the earlier Commission set up by Martelly). Sample size and margin of error have an inverse relationship where if the sample size increases, the margin of error decreases. A smaller margin of error indicates trustworthy results and a larger margin of error means the results are not considered as accurate.

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