Haitian elections; Setting the foundation for democracy; Staff trip report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United...


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Haitian elections; Setting the foundation for democracy; Staff trip report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States senate, 109th Cong., 2nd Sess.: n.a., v+16p,
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RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana, Chairman

JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts

KENNETH A. MYERS, JR., Staff Director
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, Democratic Staff Director


Letter of Transmittal .................... ................................ ............................... v
Primary Conclusion ............................................................................................... 1
Election Observations .............................................. .......................................... 1
Voting Conditions ........................................................................................... 2
Political Attitudes and Implications .................................... 2
Recommendations .............................................................................................. 2
Country Conditions .......................................................................................... 2
Security and Economic Growth ................................................................... 3
Building Democracy ....................................................................................... 4
Haitian Election Preparations ............. .................................... 5
Electoral Aid and Observation ........................................................................ 5
Voter Registration and National ID Card Distribution ................................. 6
Candidate and Party Registration ................................................................ 6
Appendix I-Staff Discussions in Haiti ............................................................... 7
Appendix II-List of Voting Centers Visited by Congressional Delegation ........ 8
Appendix III-Scenes From Haiti's Election Day ................................................. 9
Appendix IV-Haiti: Election Day Procedures .................................................. 14



February 10 2006.
Dear Colleagues:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently sent Mr. Carl
Meacham of the senior professional staff and Ms. Caroline Tess,
Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Bill Nelson to Port-au-Prince,
Haiti to observe the first round of Haitian elections on February 7,
2006. They were joined in Haiti by Mr. Ted Brennan of the House
Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on the West-
ern Hemisphere and Mr. Paul Oostburg-Sanz, Democratic Chief
Counsel, House Committee on International Relations. This report
reflects the views of the Senate delegation.
The delegation's priority was to observe Haiti's electoral process
and to assess whether a free, fair, and inclusive election took place.
The presence of a bipartisan and bicameral delegation from the
U.S. Congress helped emphasize the importance of transparent
elections and demonstrate our enduring commitment to the proc-
ess, as well as provided the U.S. Congress' moral support to the
people of Haiti.
I hope you find this report helpful as the U.S. Congress considers
how to support the building of a strong and long-lasting democracy
in Haiti.
We look forward to continuing to work with you on these issues
and welcome any comments you may have on this report.


From February 5-8, 2006, a staff delegation from the Senate For-
eign Relations Committee (SFRC) traveled to Port au Prince, Haiti
to observe the first round of Haitian elections. Haitians voted for
a new President as well as Senators and Deputies who will form
Haiti's new Parliament. On February 7th, Election Day, the delega-
tion deployed to approximately 6 voting centers in Port-au-Prince.
The delegation also visited the Vote Tabulation Center on February
6th and 8th. (See Appendix I for detailed list of election centers vis-
During this trip, the delegation visited with Haiti's interim
Prime Minister, Gerard LaTortue, and with the Special Represent-
ative of the United Nations Secretary General, Juan Gabriel
Valdes. Staff also met with Organization of American States (OAS)
Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza. (See Appendix II for com-
plete list of meetings.)
The delegation finds the voting process of the Haitian elections
observed on February 7, to be satisfactory as the majority of reg-
istered Haitians were able to vote in a relatively orderly and secure
fashion. However, the election was marked by serious challenges
including: Haitians voting by candlelight, spending hours in long
lines at some polling stations just to find that their names did not
appear on the electoral rolls, and many polling centers opening
hours late because they lacked the necessary workers, security, bal-
lots, and organization. As of this writing, the count is not yet com-
plete; this report in no way reflects on the Haitian electoral process
beyond Election Day. (See Appendix III for scenes from Haiti's
Election Day.)
The willingness, enthusiasm and overwhelming interest of the
Haitian electorate was evident during the elections. It is estimated
that over 60 per cent of the Haitian electorate came out to vote.1
However, sufficient preparation and organization at the polling
centers was lacking.
These elections will not be the solution to Haiti's problems, but
they are an obligatory passage to lay the foundation for democracy.

1 2.2 million Registered voters.

Voting Conditions
In general, voting was characterized by delayed openings, early
and eager voters, shorter lines and waiting times in the afternoon,
the presence of many other national and international election ob-
servers, and protracted closing procedures and ballot counting. Hai-
ti's Provisional Electoral Council's (CEP) efforts to inform the pub-
lic regarding changes in the locations of voting centers seemed to
have limited impact: sizable numbers of voters were frustrated to
learn the locations indicated on the back of their ID cards were in-
correct. As a result, later in the day, the CEP opened voting bu-
reaus to all voters, regardless of where one's name appeared on the
official registration lists. The most prominent irregularity was that
poll workers selectively checked names against the official registra-
tion lists after voters were allowed to vote at any voting bureau.
Each voting bureau was run by four Haitian poll workers who
were then "observed" by multiple political party observers, national
observers, and international observers. Because of the large num-
ber of parties (over 40), the presence of up to 10 political party ob-
servers at each individual voting bureau slowed the process and
also constrained the voter's ability to cast their vote in secret. In
other cases, the political party monitors provided assistance to
those in line, explaining the voting procedure or helping voters to
find the correct voting bureau.
It was also evident that tabulating the results of the election
would take longer than the original 48 hours anticipated by the
CEP and the OAS. Tally sheets were hand written-making them
difficult to read, inconsistent, and in some cases calling into ques-
tion their validity. The need to re-open ballot boxes or verify tallies
could lead to even more significant delays.
Political Attitudes and Their Implications
Unfortunately, supporters of the various political parties made
statements that sought to claim victory for their party and can-
didate. There were also isolated acts of violence and impatience
which led to approximately four deaths, including two by natural
causes, and multiple injuries.
Inside polling centers, some voters engaged in campaign activi-
ties directed at other individuals waiting to vote. Some voters ex-
pressed an aggressive and discourteous public discourse about the
political parties.
In terms of the Haitian attitudes, political polarization con-
stituted a central element of the electoral contest. This attitude
may lead to violence, instability, and claims of fraud from the elec-
tion's losers once the official results are known. Instability, in the
long term could lead to disruptive intrusions into Haitian politics
by other countries in the region, including Cuba and Venezuela.
This could negatively impact Haitians, the neighboring Dominican
Republic, and United States interests in the region.
Country Conditions
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one
of the poorest countries in the developing world. Its annual per

capital income-US$390-is considerably less the Latin American
average.2 Approximately 80 per cent of the Haitian population lives
in abject poverty.
In its fiscal year 2007 budget the administration slashed Child
Survival and Health Programs Funds for Haiti by approxi-
mately 20 per cent, and Development Assistance by approxi-
mately 22 per cent. We strongly encourage increases in these
We particularly support and encourage the continuation of the
Inter-American Development Bank's (IDB) projects which focus
on the improvement of access to basic services, particularly re-
garding water and sanitation, health and nutrition, and edu-
cation, youth and sports, and local development.
Narco-trafficking is an ongoing problem in Haiti, primarily in
marijuana and cocaine but also some heroin, from Venezuela, Co-
lombia and to a lesser extent Jamaica. Drugs are brought by fast
boats or planes to the southern area of the island then transported
by truck and plane to the northern part (Port-de-Paix), then
through the Bahamas by sail freighter or straight to Miami by fast
boat. At varying times, anywhere from 5-10 percent to 15-20 per-
cent of cocaine destined for the United States passes through
Haiti. 4
The United States Government (USG) should expand engage-
ment with Haiti, in areas where feasible, focusing on coopera-
tion with U.S law enforcement officials and the Drug Enforce-
ment Administration (DEA).
Security and Economic Growth
The success of Haitian democracy and government ultimately lies
with its government and the international community's ability to
work together to provide long term security and development for
the Haitian people. The long-term solution to insecurity, particu-
larly in Port-au-Prince, is by providing Haitians with jobs-either
in agriculture, tourism or light manufacturing.
We urge the administration to support the passage of the Hai-
tian Economic Recovery Opportunity Act (HERO) (S. 1937/H.R.
4211) to foster job creation.5
On February 29, 2004, shortly after former President Aristide de-
parted Haiti, the United Nations Security Council adopted UNSCR
1529, authorizing the deployment of a Multinational Interim Force
(MIF) to restore order and to prevent civil unrest. The Security
Council established the "Maintenance of the Expanded United Na-

2World Bank Operational Manual, July 2005.
aChild Survival and Health Programs Fund: actual fiscal year 2005 = $19,969; fiscal year
2006 estimate = $19,801; fiscal year 2007 administration request = $15,812. Development As-
sistance: actual fiscal year 2005 = $24,281; fiscal year 2006 estimate = $29,700; fiscal year 2007
administration request = $23,143 (all amounts, thousands of dollars).
4U.S. Embassy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
5 HERO would:
Provide duty free entry to apparel articles assembled in Haiti contingent upon Presidential
certification that the new government is making significant reforms; and
Cap the duty free treatment to ensure that Haiti's current apparel exports, which amount to
less than one half of one percent of total U.S. apparel imports, cannot increase to a level that
could cause injury.


tions Stabilization Mission in Haiti" (MINUSTAH) by resolution
1542 on April 30, 2004, to replace the U.S.-led MIF. By resolution
1576 of November 29, 2004, the Council extended MINUSTAH's
Chapter VII mandate for an additional period of six months until
June 1, 2005, to maintain peace and security and to continue to en-
sure a stable environment to facilitate the constitutional and polit-
ical process in Haiti. On June 22, 2005, the UN Security Council
adopted resolution 1609 extending MINUSTAH's mandate and ap-
proving temporary force increases for approximately eight months,
through February 14, 2006.6
The interim Haitian Government has come under increasing
pressure to improve security, protect human rights, and to build
the economy. The main security threat continues to come from var-
ious criminal armed groups, some of which in recent months have
displayed an increasing willingness to defy MINUSTAH. Despite
some improvement, the security situation remains a daunting chal-
lenge, particularly in the slum districts of Port-au-Prince, as armed
criminal elements torment the population with violence and use
the slums as a base for kidnapping.
The interim Haitian Government's authority remains weak in
many parts of Haiti. Although the interim Haitian Government has
appointed all 140 municipal commissions and taken steps to reor-
ganize central structures, local state institutions remain weak, in
part due to lack of resources, particularly in rural areas, and also
because of a lack of communication in Port-au-Prince. Poor com-
mand and control in the Haitian National Police (HNP) and the
lack of adequately trained and vetted HNP officers have also con-
tributed to the violence.7
Finally, the lack of economic opportunity, poor infrastructure,
and deficient education and health care systems also contribute to
the cycle of instability in Haiti.
We support the administration's vote in favor of a resolution
renewing the mandate of the "Maintenance of the Expanded
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti" (MINUSTAH),
extending personnel levels for a further six-month period cov-
ering the electoral period and subsequent political transition.
We strongly support the continued participation of troop con-
tributing countries with particular recognition of the Brazil-
ians, Canadians, and Chileans. And, we strongly encourage the
USG to ensure they remain in Haiti.
Building Democracy
Democratic political coexistence will be possible only through ex-
plicit efforts by the winning candidates to reach across party lines
to accommodate concerns of losing parties into the political agenda.
It would be highly beneficial for Haitian democracy if govern-
ment authorities, political parties, citizens and non-governmental

6At the time this report was written, the United Nations Security Council had scheduled a
vote to renew MINUSTAH's mandate and extend increased personnel levels on the 14th of Feb-
ruary 2006 (with a ceiling of 9,397 for troops and police).
7January 30, 2006 background paper from the U.S. Department of State notifying the chair-
man of the Committee on Foreign Relations that the United States intends to support a resolu-
tion in the United Nations Security Council to extend for an additional six months previously
approved temporary increases in the authorized force strength of the United Nations Stabiliza-
tion Mission in Haiti (MUNSTAH).

officials could, in the near future, reach a new democratic con-
sensus. The agenda for this dialogue could include such items as:
the development of a political party system with transparent fi-
nancing formulas, the maturing of the parliamentary election sys-
tem to ensure that the interests of minorities are respected, and
the strengthening of the principle of separation, independence and
balance of powers.
We strongly encourage the winners of these elections to build
respect and mutual recognition through a frank, inclusive and
good-faith dialogue, and the empowerment of a political opposi-
tion in conjunction with the new government. The role of the
International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National
Democratic Institute (NDI) can facilitate this process. We en-
courage both NDI and IRI to work with all political parties in
an open and transparent manner.
In the short term the USG should encourage the new Haitian
Government to work with other Caribbean Community
(Caricom) member nations to learn from their experiences,
with special attention to Jamaica. We also encourage the OAS
to foster excursions and exchanges among Caribbean legisla-
tors and government officials to facilitate the consolidation of
democracy in Haiti.
The Haitian presidential elections were delayed four times; they
finally occurred on February 7th, 2006 together with parliamentary
elections. If none of the candidates running for president receives
50 per cent or more of the electorate; there will be a second round
for the two top vote getters. The second round would take place on
March 19, 2006.8 The presidential inauguration is scheduled to
take place on March 29, 2006.
Electoral Aid and Observation
United States Government electoral assistance was $30 million.9
In addition, IFES 10 was awarded $2 million for election observa-
tion with U.S. observers. IFES fielded 12 long-term observers, 30
short-term observers (STOs) for the first round and will field 30
STOs during the second round. The National Democratic Institute
(NDI) trained and supported political party observers and domestic
civil society observers. The United States Embassy in Port-au-
Prince separately fielded 30 observers including Creole-speaking
staff. 11
Voter Registration and National ID Card Distribution
The OAS reports that over 3.5 million (3,535,025) potential vot-
ers registered to receive new National Identity Cards. Wide OAS

SAt the time this report was written ballot counting for the presidential contest was not con-
9The European Union provided approximately $22 million and the Government of Canada
provided approximately $22.75. Total electoral aid was approximately $70 million.
10"IFES" used to stand for the International Foundation for Election Systems when it was
dedicated exclusively to elections. In the two decades since their founding, they have come to
deliver comprehensive solutions in democracy building and their name is simply IFES.
11 The European Community (EC) and Election Canada (150) fielded international observation
missions. The Caribbean Community of Nations (Caricom) also sent observers.


distribution of the identity cards began on November 23, 2005.
OAS reported that over 3.1 million cards (88 per cent) were distrib-
uted by January 30, 2006. On Election Day, there were 808 secure
election polling centers; with approximately 50 per cent in com-
munal sections and 50 per cent in urban centers.
Candidate and Party Registration
According to the U.S. Department of State, 35 Presidential can-
didates were approved to contest the election; 45 political parties
were approved by the CEP. According to the CEP, accommodations
in the party registration process resulted in all major parties par-
ticipating. (See Appendix IV for Election Day Procedures)


Staff held discussions with the following individuals in Haiti:
Charge d'Affaires Timothy M. Carney (Amb. ret.)
Interim Prime Minister of Haiti, Gerard Latortue
Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Na-
tions, Juan Gabriel Valdes
Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, Jose
Miguel Insulza


Tuesday, February 7, 20061
1. Ecole Freres de l'Instruction Chretienne, Petion-Ville
2. Ecole Nationale Thomas Madio
3. Ecole Nationale de Guatamala, Lycee Petion-Ville
4. Delmas 75-Institut Mixte Evens Dorleans
5. Fermathe-College Mission Baptiste de Fermathe
6. Thomassin-Eglise Saint Vincent de Paul
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
The delegation visited the Vote Tabulation Center.

1Many of these centers were visited more that once during the course of the day. Movement
around Port-au-Prince was restricted due to security concerns.



,L (.,- I/ i"t1f t I

Haitians waiting to vote at Tomassin-Eglise Saint Vincent de Paul

A, ,L -^ .

"- ':" -- ... '^ ;l^^ a "- ," ^1
Ht, ians waiting tovote at an u
_.r-.:,. K. l l- .,. ,- -, .
Haitians waiting to vote at an unidentified voting center

Haitians waiting to vote at Ecole Nationale Thomas Madio


Haitians examining a voter list at Ecole Freres de

A Presidential ballot

deputy, senate, ana rresiaetlul udiviui

her thumb marked to indicate that she has voted

OLeT anDulation center

tank guards the Vote Tabulation Center



Schedule for Voting Centers
5:00 a.m.: 38,000 voting center personnel arrive at voting cen-
5:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m.: Personnel set up voting
6:00 a.m.: Voting opens
4:00 p.m.: Voting closes (any voters already in line at 1600 will
be allowed to vote)
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and IGOH plan to allow
public transportation on Election Day.
Steps to Casting a Vote
Voting site (BV) First Secretary checks voter IDs at the
door to the BV and directs them to the president of the
BV President examines both of the voter's hands to
make sure there is no mark indicating they have already
BV President finds voter's name, photo (identical to the
ID card photo) and ID number on j the partial electoral list
Voter signs next to their name on the LEP.
BV Vice President (VP) gives the voter a ballot for presi-
dential, senatorial and deputy races.
BV VP explains that the voter can choose one president,
three senators, and one deputy.
BV VP explains that voter should fold ballot as soon as
he votes to keep his decision private.
Voter casts vote at table divided in four by a cardboard
BV Second Secretary helps voter place ballots in correct
box, but does not touch ballots.
BV Second Secretary marks voter's thumb nail with in-
delible marker.
Counting the Votes
Vote count begins at 4 p.m. or after all voters in line at
4 p.m. have voted.
Candidate, party, national, and international observers
monitor counting. They will keep a separate count to verify
the official count before the BV president records the offi-
cial results.
Beginning with the presidential race, the BV president
will remove ballots from the ballot box one by one, calling
out who the vote is for, if the ballot is blank, or if the bal-
lot is undecipherable.


BV President will show the ballot to all observers so
they can confirm his assessment.
BV Secretaries will sort the ballots by candidate.
Once all the ballots are removed from the box and sort-
ed, the BV secretaries will count the votes for each can-
The votes will be counted again if any of the observers
in the room disagree with the count.
Once, all the observers agree on the results, the BV
president will fill out the tally sheet and place clear tape
over the results on every carbon copy of the tally sheet.
BV Secretaries will seal all of the ballots in one of the
ballot boxes.
BV President seals three tally sheets in envelopes, one
for the communal electoral bureau (BEC), one for the de-
partmental electoral bureau (BED), and one for the CEP
as required by the electoral law.
BV President seals the tally sheet for the CEP as well
as the time and attendance sheets for the poll workers in
a tamper-proof plastic bag for delivery to Port-au-Prince,
A tally sheet is given to each of the two political parties
with the most votes, and one is displayed publicly on the
wall of the BV.
CEP staff accompanies the results throughout the proc-
ess; only Haitian elections workers are allowed to handle
the results.
UN vehicles and in some cases rented animals carry the
sealed results to UN departmental bases co-located with or
close to the BEDs.
The UN will provide space in all vehicles carrying re-
sults (trucks and helicopters) for observers.
Ballots Stored, Tally Sheets Transferred
CEP staff unloads the ballots and tally sheets at
MINUSTAH departmental bases.
Ballots are locked in secure storage.
One copy of each tally sheet is sent to the relevant BEC,
the BED, and the tabulation center in Port-au-Prince
Elections officials hope to transport tally sheets to the
tabulation center in Port-au-Prince quickly. However, re-
sults transportation from some remote areas may be
slow-some roads are nearly impassable in foul weather. It
could take 3 5 days to finalize the count from outlying
Tabulating and Releasing the Results
CEP workers log in each tally sheet by their unique
identification number as they arrive at the tabulation cen-
Each tally sheet is randomly assigned to an OAS/CEP-
trained operator who enters the results into a computer.


The sheet is then passed to another randomly selected
operator who enters the results a second time.
If the two entries do not match, the sheet is sent to a
committee that examines the entered results and the tally
sheet to verify the results.
The CEP will release results from the USAID-funded
media center, but has not yet decided when they will begin
to release results.
Members of the press, elections observers, and members
of the diplomatic community will have access to the tab-
ulation center throughout the counting process. However,
the tabulation center is divided into sections to prevent re-
sults from leaking before they are officially release by the
The technical process for voting and tabulation is com-
plete. This year's Election Day process will make fraud sig-
nificantly more difficult than in past elections and should
lead to a more credible result.
Source: U.S. Department of State.