The regional elections in Colombia progressed without any major issues obstructing the voting process in most departments and cities across the country on October 29, 2023.
In one instance, the Colombian government noted that in the municipality of Ricaurte, Nariño department, the elections have had to be temporarily suspended due to a lack of security guarantees.
“This municipality is defined as an extreme risk area in our Early Warning Alert 030, due to the activities of the ELN guerrilla and the self-proclaimed Second Marquetalia, a dissident group of the FARC,” stated the Ombudsman, Carlos Camargo.
The electoral day has been set up with 12,922 polling stations across the country and 119,875 voting booths so that the 38,965,515 eligible Colombian citizens can choose those who will hold local and regional power in the country starting on January 1, 2024.
Today, 32 governors, 1,102 mayors, 418 deputies for departmental assemblies, as well as 12,072 council members and 6,513 district representatives will be renewed, who will be in charge of the administration of territorial entities during the 2024-2027 period. By noon, 5 million people had voted in the country, which represents a mere 12.8% of potential voters.
The main candidates running for mayoralties and regional governorships have already cast their votes. “We hope that the level of participation will reach 20 million citizens by around 4 PM when the polls close,” electoral authorities have stated.
Minor Incidents in Some Regions
Except for what happened in Nariño, the Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) has reported a total of 127 reports of possible irregularities and electoral offenses in 70 municipalities throughout the country, in 21 departments, and in Bogota. These reports include violations of voters’ freedom, especially in Antioquia, Bolivar, and the capital city. Prohibited election propaganda, with 33 reports, in regions such as Cauca, Boyaca, and Risaralda, among others.
In reality, all these incidents have been classified as “minor incidents.” Non-compliance with electoral procedures in San Fernando, Bolívar, Curumani, Cesar, and Bogota, and issues with the accreditation of electoral witnesses, delays in the opening of polling stations, and non-compliance with protocols for assisting people with disabilities have also delayed the right to vote in some cases.
Polling stations opened at 8 AM and will close their doors at 4 PM.