Latin America & Caribbean

Dominican Republic poll halted after electronic glitch

People protest at the headquarters of the Central Electoral Board, after municipal elections were suspended, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 16 February 2020 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some Dominicans protested outside the offices of the electoral board

Municipal elections in the Dominican Republic were suspended four hours after voting began due to a problem with the electronic voting system.

Half of the electronic devices used in the nationwide poll did not work properly causing virtual ballot papers not to load properly, the head of the electoral body said.

Electoral officials are investigating the cause of the glitch.

A new date for the election has not yet been set.

It is the first time that municipal elections have been suspended.

More than seven million voters were eligible to cast their ballot in the election to choose candidates for almost almost 4,000 posts in 158 municipalities.

Long queues formed outside the polling stations as the ballots failed to load.

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The electronic system was being used in 18 of the most populous municipalities, where 62% of Dominicans were entitled to vote.

The electoral authorities said they took the decision to suspend voting nationwide, even in areas where the electronic system was not being used.

Opposition politician Luis Abinader said the suspension was "outrageous and unjustified". An observer mission from the Organization of American States regional body called for dialogue

The electronic glitch comes just three months before general elections are due to be held on 17 May.

The president of the electoral board, Julio César Castaños Guzmán, said that the municipal elections would be rescheduled to an "opportune date".

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