In the DR’s General Election, Some Sold Their Votes For As Little As $20

Lead Photo: AP Photo/Ezequiel Lopez
AP Photo/Ezequiel Lopez
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Just before the May 15 general elections in the Dominican Republic, campaign organizer Maria started receiving envelopes full of money from candidates. The day of the election, Maria – who chose to only be identified by her first name – headed to the streets to offer as much as $20 to try to persuade people to vote for her party, according to Bloomberg. If not, she paid them in exchange for their IDs. “If they don’t have an identity card, they can’t vote,” she said. “So it’s like one more vote for us.”

The practice isn’t new. As a matter of fact, Maria has bought votes longer than she’s been able to cast one. But it’s the kind of voter fraud the Junta Central Electoral’s new measures couldn’t stop. Before the elections, fingerprint scanners and new IDs were supposed to cut down on fraud. However, people like 19-year-old Jayson looked to profit from their votes. He ended up making 1,000 pesos ($22) for giving up his ID for the election. His friend, 21-year-old Luis, fared better. He made $28 for saying he’d vote for the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD), but he just ended up voting for whoever he wanted.

Organization of American States said they “received complaints about the buying of votes and identity cards,” and local TV stations reportedly filmed these transactions happening. On Monday, preliminary results revealed that the President Danilo Medina (PLD) won 61 percent of the vote, and people have called out his party for scamming the system. Partido Revolucionario Moderno’s candidate, Luis Abinader, conceded defeat, but also said that Medina didn’t earn his votes. Abinader alleges Medina pressured citizens and bought their votes, as well as received help from the government, according to Acento.

Read more on Bloomberg to see how else voter fraud shaped the election.