Elections in Ecuador

Today some 11.6 million Ecuadorians went to the polls to cast their vote for 23 prefects, 221 mayors, 1,305 city council members, and 4,079 rural county representatives – a total of 5,600 government officials. Voting in Ecuador is obligatory for citizens between the ages of 18 and 65. When you vote, you are given a voting card to show that you voted in these elections. This card must be presented in many places in Ecuador – at the bank, to get an id, or to do any sort of government paperwork. Constituents who do not vote must pay a fine in order to get a voting card in order to be able to do these things.


The polls at the school Borja 3 in Quito

Many Ecuadorians prefer to vote in their home province and even if they have moved to the capital or another part of the country, do not change their voting address. This means that they travel to their home province to cast their vote in local elections. Because elections are always held on a Sunday in Ecuador, this becomes a weekend trip for many.


Voting is done manually in Ecuador

Foreign residents in Ecuador have the right to vote after three years and exercising this right is optional. Ecuadorian nationals abroad have the opportunity to vote in Ecuadorian consulates and embassies.


Ballots in Ecuador have candidates’ photos

Today the people of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, elected a new mayor, Mauricio Rodas. His campaign promises include lowering taxes beginning in 2015, transforming public transportation, and supporting art and culture. He said, “We are going to democratize access to the culture of Quito.” Rodas is a member of the Suma party and won 58% to 39% against the incumbent, Augusto Barrera, who is a member of Movement PAIS Alliance, the same party as President Rafael Correa.

Jaime Nebot, who has been mayor of Guayaquil (Ecuador’s largest city) since 2000, was reelected for yet another four-year term. Nebot is a rightist who was originally of the Social Christian Party, but has distanced himself from it. The Social Christian Party and PAIS Alliance are on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Several international newspapers focused on the defeat of the president’s party PAIS Alliance in that it lost the mayoral elections in Ecuador’s three largest cities: Guayaquil, Quito, and Cuenca, among other provincial capitals. Many newspapers also view these election results as the worst electoral setback PAIS Alliance has seen since Correa was elected president in 2007. In the nine elections since Correa took office, this is the first in which PAIS Alliance and its Citizens’ Revolution have not had a sweeping victory. The political transition process begins on Wednesday, March 5.

Voting in Ecuador is perhaps much more of a social activity than in other countries. Families go to the polls together then go home, have lunch, and talk about how the voted, what they think the outcomes are going to be, and what their hopes are. Of course, opportunities to make a day’s living are not wasted. Food vendors can be seen all over the streets around voting sites.


A cotton candy vendor
In Ecuador, no one is too old for this treat!


A fruit salad cart




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