Join our delegation to accompany the CRIPDES communities during the March 11th, 2012 municipal and legislative elections. Participating in the Election Observation Delegation is an exciting way to learn about the Salvadoran political process, respond to the request for observers from our partners, accompany the rural communities and advocate for free and fair elections. The approximate cost of the delegation is $700-$800 depending on the number of participants.
Why Observing the March 2012 Election so Important
In the 2009 elections, Sister Cities observers played a key role in ensuring the fairness of the election process and monitoring and reporting on election irregularities. For example, in 2009 U.S. congressmen made speeches threatening to deport all Salvadorans from the U.S. if El Salvador elected a left-wing presidential candidate. These statements were widely publicized in El Salvador, creating an environment of fear as Salvadorans went to the polls. The Sister Cities network and our allies worked to publicize the true U.S. policy regarding the elections, and advocated publicly to the state department to denounce interventionist statements. As the first elections since the FMLN’s taking control of the executive, the 2012 elections will show the Salvadoran people’s support or disapproval of the administration of President Mauricio Funes and determine the balance of the legislative assembly and the legislation that will be passed in the next few years. In addition, the March election will be the first elections in which new electoral reforms like the inclusion of independent candidates and residential voting will be implemented.
Election Observation Training
We will register and train Sister Cities delegates through the Social Initiative for Democracy (ISD), an organization that specializes in government transparency The ISD will teach delegates the details of election observation and about the electoral reforms going into effect in 2012. In coordination with the ISD and CRIPDES, we will observe, document and report on the results of our observations to the press.
Sister Cities election observers will tour the important historic sites of San Salvador, meet with CRIPDES and other social justice organizations in the capital, receive training in electoral observation, and spend time in sister communities that have requested electoral observation.
One community that has already requested election observers is Cinquera, the sister city of Chicago IL, the site of what will likely be a highly contested mayoral election. The mayor of Cinquera has aggressively targeted members of the opposition during his term. He has attempted to sue the community council over the rights to community projects, unlawfully fired left-leaning teachers from the local school and attempted to incite violence against park rangers at the community´s protected forest. Election observation in Cinquera is very important to ensure a fair and peaceful election.
The (Tentative) Itinerary
March 6 - arrival in San Salvador
March 7 - orientation with Sister Cities
- visit to historic sites in San Salvador
- meeting with CRIPDES
March 8 - Elections observation training with the ISD
- registration at the Electoral tribunal
- meeting about the movement against gold mining and the elections
- evening out
March 9 - Pre-elections press conference
- Travel to Cinquera or other elections observation site
March 10 - meeting with community directive
- introductions with police and regional voting boards
March 11 - election observation
March 12 - return to San Salvador
- meeting with ISD to work on press message and final report
March 13 - post elections press conference
- visit the beach and delegation debreif
March 14 - return to the U.S.
We choose the communities where we observe based on CRIPDES recommendations and requests from community councils that expect contested elections. Because we will not be able to visit all of the sister communities of delegated participating in the delegation, we welcome you to stay an additional 2-3 days and we can coordinate a visit to your sistered community after the delegation ends. Please let staff know if you are interested in doing this
How to Reserve Your Spot on the Delegation