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Daily News - 15 May 2002

DR1 and the elections
DR1 will not issue an update tomorrow as everything slows down for the election. Expect Thursday, 16 May to be a quiet day as people go to vote and then gather in the evening to await the results. Others 
are readying for a long weekend, as the 44-hour holiday called by the government, starting Wednesday at noon, has encouraged many to turn it into a sun-filled vacation, especially as hotels are 
offering great package plans. For early electoral results, readers should refer to the Central 
Electoral Board web page at http://www.jce.do An overview of the elections and the results as they become available will be published in the Friday, 17 May edition of the DR1 Daily News. However, the online edition of the DR1 Daily News at http://www.dr1.com may be updated as important news and data becomes available.

President to vote and fly to Spain 
President Hipolito Mejia will vote as soon as his polling station opens and then fly to Spain, his first stop on a 10-day tour of four countries. This is his 27th trip abroad in less than two years in office. 
In Madrid, Mejia will participate in the II European Union/Iberoamerican and Caribbean Summit, a three-day event organized by Spanish head of state Jose Maria Aznar. The Presidentıs 
participation is considered important because Mejia will host the Iberoamerican statesmen in November at a summit in Bavaro, Punta Cana. 
On 22 May, he will continue to Rabat, Morocco to attend the annual meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific block of nations -- which the DR chairs -- to revise European Union programs. This will 
be the first time a Dominican President visits Africa. President Mejia is also scheduled to make stopovers in Barcelona, Lleida and Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands (24 May). In 
Spain he is scheduled to meet with potential investors in the controversial tourism development at Bahia de las Aguilas in the southwestern province of Pedernales. He will also meet with garbage collection company executives from Colimec and Urbaser and with 120 Spanish businessmen interested in investing in the Dominican Republic. 

All is ready for the elections
Today, the Central Electoral Board (JCE) is distributing voting materials to the presidents of voting stations, which will be set up later this afternoon and early tomorrow morning. Each voting station 
has a president, two members, a secretary and substitute secretary. As well, each participating political party has the right to one delegate per voting station. Local observers (namely Participacion 
Ciudadana civic group members) and international observers are also authorized to be present at the voting stations. According to the JCE, 4,647,839 Dominicans are eligible to vote in 
Thursdayıs congressional and municipal elections. Thatıs about half a million more than in 1998. There will be 11,649 electoral stations nationwide. 11,000 candidates are running for the 2,006 positions 
available. This includes 1,824 city government positions and 182 congressional positions (150 deputies and 32 senators). The municipal and congressional electoral campaign ended on Tuesday 
at midnight. Dominicans are given two days to reflect on their choices before voting. 
The JCE is the only organization that can issue the official results. They will be posted on the Voz de la Junta Central Electoral radio and television broadcasts and on the Internet at http://www.jce.org.do 

Voting in the capital
The Listin Diario reports that the National District (Santo Domingo) 
Electoral Board will issue the first electoral results bulletin on Thursday at 9 pm. By then, a significant amount of the votes from the 225 districts and 1,884 voting stations in Santo Domingo will 
have been counted. In the capital city, 661,960 citizens are eligible to vote. They are 
divided into three voting districts: 

Voting district No. 1 chooses six deputies; No. 2 elects four; and No. 3 elects eight for a total 
of 18 deputies who will represent the National District in the Chamber. 
The National Districtıs population of 911,002 (1993) shares 18 deputies and 36 aldermen. 
The electoral areas of the National District are broken down as follows: 

Electoral District No. 1: 
30 de Mayo, Bella Vista, Buenos Aires, Ciudad Nueva, Ciudad Colonial, Ciudad Universitaria, Costa Verde, El Cacique, El Millon, Ensanche Naco, Gazcue, General Antonio Duverge, Honduras del Norte, 
Honduras del Oeste, Jardines del Sur, Julieta Morales, La Esperilla, La Julia, Los Cacicazgos, Los Prados, Los Restauradores, Mata Hambre, Mirador Norte, Mirador Sur, Miraflores, Miramar, Nuestra 
Señora de la Paz, Paraiso, Piantini, Quisqueya, Renacimiento, San Geronimo, Reparto Atala, San Juan Bosco, Tropical Metaldom, and others. 

Electoral District No. 2: 
Aeropuerto de Herrera, Alameda, Buenos Aires (Herrera), Engombe, Enriquillo, Haina, Herrera, Juan Pablo Duarte, La Altagracia, La Rosa, Las Caobas, Las Palmas Real, Manoguayabo, Santo 
Domingo Country Club, Zona Industrial de Herrera. 

Electoral District No. 3: Altos de Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Manzano, Cerros de Arroyo Hondo, 
Cristo Rey, La Agustina, La Fe, Los Jardines, Los Perplejos, Los Rios, Nuevo Arroyo Hondo, Viejo Arroyo Hondo. 

The new preferential voting system 
This year the Central Electoral Board (JCE) is implementing a new electoral system that permits what is called the preferential vote for deputies. The new system is in place for tomorrowıs 
congressional elections, but only in the National District and seven provinces. It enables voters to vote for a specific candidate to deputy who will represent their voting district. The parties submit 
lists of candidates who the voters are able to choose from. In the past, a candidate gained a post depending on the number of votes his party received. The parties would list candidates in a fixed order 
and the candidates listed at the top would be the winners, not necessarily those preferred by the voters. Now, voters can choose from the names on the ballot. 
The Central Electoral Board had considered allowing voters to vote for a senator of a different party from the chosen deputy, but this was postponed until the 2006 election. Likewise, the JCE also 
postponed implementing the new system for municipal elections this time around, and thus the aldermen chosen by the party will accompany whoever is elected mayor. The National District (Santo Domingo-three electoral districts) and seven provinces will test out the new system. The provinces are: 
Santo Domingo (six electoral districts-26 deputies), Santiago (three electoral districts-14 deputies), La Vega (two electoral districts-seven deputies), Puerto Plata (two electoral 
districts-five deputies), San Juan de la Maguana (two electoral districts-five deputies), San Cristobal (three electoral districts-8 deputies), and Duarte (two electoral districts-six deputies). 
In the remaining provinces, elections will be carried out in the traditional manner. 
For a list of who is running in the congressional race, see http://www.pciudadana.com/elecciones2002/relacion_candidatos_cong.pdf 

Voting in the DR 
Voting in the DR is a time-consuming process. For many it means hours of pushing, shoving, and lining up under a hot sun. It can take a whole morning or afternoon. Voting is segregated by sexes -- women vote in the morning and men in the afternoon. The procedure has two parts: first, the voters queue up to register to vote at the station (from 6 am to 8:30 am for women or 1 pm to 3:30 pm for men) and then the actual voting takes place. For the women, voting closes at 1 pm, and for the men at 6 pm. 
Voters will receive two ballots: Ballot A is for senators and deputies. Ballot B is for mayors and aldermen. To vote, the JCE allows the following marks to be placed on the ballot: X, +, _ or a /. 

How to vote 
The two ballots enable voters to choose legislators from one party and the mayor from another if they wish. But the legislators (senators and deputies) must all be from the same party, and the 
municipal candidates likewise. That is, one cannot vote for a senator of one party and a deputy of another. That would annul the vote. And when choosing the mayor, the voter automatically is voting 
for the alderman of that party. What is new in this 16 May election is that voters can chose from a 
list of several deputies presented by the party for a specific voting district. By marking a deputy of one party, you are automatically voting for the senator of that party. If the voter only marks the photo of the senator, the vote will be allotted to the deputies in proportion to the actual number of marked votes that candidate received. Voters can mark the political party, and that automatically will credit votes to the senator of the party and the deputies in proportion to the votes they receive. This also applies to marking the party on the municipal or B ballot. If the party logo is marked, then the mayor of that party is chosen, plus the aldermen. After marking the ballot, the voter will fold it in four with the 
stamped and signed part of the ballot visible. The vote will then be deposited in the ballot box. 
Prior to departing the voting station, the voter needs to sign and provide a digital fingerprint on the final list of voters. As usual, a finger must be dipped in indelible ink to prevent multiple votes. The voter is then given back his ID and voting card and the process is complete. 

Valid and annulled votes
The Central Electoral Board considers votes valid when the intention to vote for a party is clear. According to the JCE, votes are valid when the person marks: The photograph of a candidate to deputy; the photo of the candidate to senator; the photos of the candidates to senator and deputy; the 
logo of the party; the entire ballot with an X. If a voter marks the photos of two deputies, the ballot will still be valid but the votes will not go towards the two deputies. They will count for the party and will be redistributed first to the deputies who received the most votes. Votes will be annulled if the voter marks two or more photographs of candidates from different political parties, or of parties that have 
not registered alliances with other parties.
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