BOGOTA – Colombians in 64 countries will vote on the referendum set for Oct. 2 to approve the peace pact reached between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, officials with the Voter Registry office and the Foreign Ministry in Bogota said.
“Abroad, we will be present in 64 countries, with 203 voting sites and 1,372 polling places,” said the top voter registration official, Juan Carlos Galindo.
Galindo, whose office is in charge of elections and identifying voters, said that the electoral census shows 34.8 million Colombians are registered to vote, with 599,026 residing outside the country.
“It’s an election process that we’re organizing in record time: five weeks since (President Juan Manuel Santos) set the (referendum) date for Oct. 2, 2016,” he said.
Galindo also said that “all the resources of the Registry, with the support and participation of the National Electoral Council” are being brought to bear to conduct the referendum.
Santos on Aug. 25 made public the definitive text of the peace pact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a treaty negotiated over the past four years in Havana and signed the day before. He said at the time that making the document public was the first step in convening the plebiscite to get the approval of the citizenry for the accord.
Five days later, Colombia’s congress authorized Santos to call voters to the polls.
Galindo said that the Oct. 2 date for the vote, just 37 days away at the time, made it impossible to “undertake a registration phase for the public,” given that such a procedure takes at least “90 days.”
Thus, “all those citizens who have been in previous censuses will be able to vote. That is, who have voted in the earlier elections, whether that be in 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 or farther back,” he said.
Galindo also said that voters will have to vote at the precincts where they are – or were most recently – registered, since there is not enough time to update the rolls.