San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Elections Tribunal Rules Out Manual Recount

Election officials will not undertake a manual recount for Costa Rica’s presidential elections on Feb. 7.

Based on a legal interpretation of the new electoral code, the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) said a manual recount would compromise their “obligation to start counting in the shortest time possible,” as stated in Article 197.

According to a resolution passed last month and signed by TSE President Luis Antonio Sobrado and four other members, better controls, improved technology and higher scrutiny of the electoral process nowadays mean that the cumbersome and expensive process of counting votes by hand is no longer necessary.

According to the resolution, the elimination of a legal mandate (contained in the 1952 code) to recount the votes is justified by “the different realities of today (versus 1952) and the necessary evolution that a democratic culture currently imposes (including a more involved citizenry).”

Sobrado told the daily La Nación that he does not see a threat of electoral fraud because of the controls exercised by representatives of political parties.

However, the TSE allows for a few exceptions. A manual recount may be undertaken if there are inconsistencies in the numbers, if polling stations have violated election protocol or if the difference between presidential candidates is 2 percent or less.

While no study has forecast a tight election next month – National Liberation Party’s Laura Chinchilla still is about 10 percentage points ahead of the Libertarian Movement’s Otto Guevara – polls have indicated that the elections could go into a second round.


Where The Candidates

Stand in Polls

Laura Chinchilla

National Liberation Party (PLN)

CID-Gallup: 44 percent

Unimer: 40.9 percent

Borge and Associates: 38.7 percent


Otto Guevara

Libertarian Movement (ML)

CID-Gallup: 27 percent

Unimer: 30.4 percent

Borge and Associates: 18.3 percent


Ottón Solís

Citizen Action Party (PAC)

CID-Gallup: 12 percent

Unimer: 13.7 percent

Borge and Associates: 9.6 percent


Luis Fishman

Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC)

CID-Gallup: 10 percent

Unimer: 5.9 percent

Borge and Associates: 3.7 percent


SOURCE: CID-Gallup published by La Republica on Jan. 20, Unimer published by La Nación on Jan. 16, Borge and Associates published by Diario Extra on Jan. 4


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