Cubans Can Oversee the Vote Count in Sunday’s Referendum

Voting takes place today in Cuba in a referendum on a new Family Code

By El Toque

HAVANA TIMES – Among the most debated points regarding the September 25th referendum on the Family Code in Cuba, is the reliability of the electoral system; the counting of the votes is one of the aspects that generates the most controversy.

Cuban Electoral Law grants citizens the right to use a citizen oversight mechanism, at least, at the polling stations of each constituency. Although this does not guarantee that the figures compiled at other levels are immune to manipulation, it allows the count to be audited at the level closest to the voter.

Article 5 of the Electoral Law in force states that citizens of legal age have the right to “witness the vote counting at the polling stations” at schools during elections and referendums.

Protected by this possibility, supporters of a yes, no and abstention vote on the proposed new Family Code, have publicly stated their intention to go to their schools to verify the count once the polls close at 6:00 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

As we did during the 2019 constitutional referendum, at El Toque we want to support this citizen oversight action. We invite all people who go to witness the vote counts to share the results of their precincts with the hashtag #ReportoVotoReferendo or mentioning us on social networks so that we can group the reports.

The result of the collective oversight is not statistically binding, but it can function as a kind of “exit poll” that reflects trends based on anecdotes. In the absence of independent observation and digitized and automated mechanisms for public monitoring of voting, citizen participation is a necessary and useful tool.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times