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Ticos abroad will vote using paper ballots

December 24, 2013

Justices of the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) on Tuesday agreed to postpone the use of electronic devices for Costa Rican citizens living abroad to cast their votes, as there is not enough time to conduct required tests with the ultrabook computers before Feb. 2, election day.

Nearly 13,000 Ticos registered to vote from abroad will now do so using the same presidential ballots that voters will use in Costa Rica, TSE confirmed in a press release.

They also agreed to defer the electronic voting program for the municipal elections of 2016, TSE spokeswoman Giannina Aguilar reported.

“Although several tests have been made locally, there is not enough time to test the devices in similar conditions as those of an actual election,” she added.

TSE intended to conduct at least six simulated voting tests with the devices at certain embassies to ensure that the e-voting plan would work as planned. But according to current embassy schedules, there is only time to perform two simulations in January.

“This schedule does not leave enough time to correct or improve any situation that may arise before packing and sending the equipment and documents to all other embassies,” Aguilar explained.

TSE Election Registry Director Héctor Fernández said the change does not involve budget or major logistical changes, as TSE has enough ballots, as well as all the required materials and documentation for Ticos registered abroad.

TSE personnel appointed to take the voting materials to each country will travel as planned, and they will be overseeing the voting at 50 of the 61 polling centers located at Costa Rican embassies and consulates.

Polling centers will open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (local time), a schedule selected to ease the process in the 42 countries where Ticos registered to cast their votes.

Despite the time differences, the results of those votes will not be disclosed before 6 p.m. (Costa Rica time), as stipulated by Article 191 of the country’s Electoral Code.

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