valdivia1_AIZAR RALDESAFP via Getty Images_boliviaevomoralesposters Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images

Bolivia’s Electoral Fraud Reckoning

While the preponderance of evidence indicates that Bolivia's October 2019 presidential election was marked by rampant fraud, a recent study by two researchers suggests otherwise. But the study's assumptions are questionable, and, even if correct, the authors' results do not show absence of fraud.

WASHINGTON, DC/EDINBURG, TEXAS – Bolivia finds itself at a critical juncture. After its long-serving president, Evo Morales, resigned and fled the country last November in the wake of a presidential election marred by alleged irregularities, a transitional government scrambled to fill the power vacuum, stopped violent clashes, and swiftly called for new elections.

Although Bolivia could have descended further into chaos and violence, the warring political parties somewhat miraculously reached a fragile détente and agreed to hold an electoral do-over in May. But the controversy surrounding the October 2019 presidential election recently reignited after researchers John Curiel and Jack R. Williams (C&W) claimed in The Washington Post to have “found no reason to suspect fraud.”

Given its narrow scope, the C&W study cannot, in fact, dispel doubts about the election’s fraud. Nonetheless, the researchers’ widely publicized blanket statement detonated in Bolivia like a cluster bomb, rekindling antagonisms and encouraging agitators. It is therefore imperative to scrutinize the study’s analysis and conclusions.

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