The case of the municipal elections in the Dominican Republic

  • How Cloud Services and Intcomex Cloud Support Helped to save the Dominican Democracy

February 16, 2020, was set to be a momentous day for the Dominican Republic. The country had been under the ruling of the same political party for more than 16 years, and for the first time in that period, municipal elections would be held. On top of that, this would be the first time the Caribbean nation would use electronic voting in a nationwide election.

The anticipation was enormous, and when the date came, turnout was even greater; however, in the early hours of the elections, it became clear that something was seriously wrong with the process.

Quickly, complaints about the improper operation of the voting machines began to pill up, and the discontent of the voters became palpable on social media and in the streets. Four hours after opening the polls, the electoral authorities already registered a failure rate of over 60% of the ballots cast. They had no choice but to suspend the elections altogether.

The reaction of the Dominicans was immediate. Trust in the ruling party -plagued by accusations of corruption and attempts to weaken democratic institutions- was at an all-time low before the elections, and the suspension of the process was the straw that broke the camel’s back. With the official announcement, hundreds of thousands of Dominicans from all walks of life took to the streets to protest; the massive demonstrations continued for days.

Municipal voting would take place 30 days later, this time with paper ballots and manual counting.

However, the electoral authorities needed to fix the problems with the electronic voting system quickly and effectively. On May 17 of the same year, the presidential elections would be held, and if a transparent, efficient, and safe electoral process were not guaranteed, the Dominican Republic would surely plunge into unprecedented political and social crises. The social peace and democracy of the country were at stake.

The local information technology services company, C-Ven, was commissioned by the Junta Central Electoral (Central Electoral Board) of the Dominican Republic to provide the necessary computing solutions to guarantee the suitability of the upcoming elections; a daunting task given the context.

Aware of the problems behind the February 16 blunder, C-Ven undertook to design and implement fail-proof processes. For that, they would need to bring to their corner a cloud service provider that would deliver top-performing technological solutions, but above all, exceptional support, capable of instantly solving any inconvenience; that’s when they came to Intcomex Cloud.

“As the presidential elections arrived, we took on the task of coordinating all our resources and putting together premium support suite for C-Ven and the Central Electoral Board. The goal was to guarantee minute-by-minute communication throughout the process so that any problem that might arise would be resolved immediately,” recalls Nelson Vásquez of Intcomex Cloud.

And problems did arise. During election day, the Dominican Republic was targeted by at least three separate cyberattacks that sought to overload the digital platforms used for data processing. Even so, the support mechanisms Intcomex Cloud put in place rose to the occasion and kept the election running smoothly on its tracks.

The task was monumental. The eyes of the observers from the Organization of American States and the United Nations -among many other international and local organizations- were on every detail of the elections. In the end, everyone would agree that the entire electoral process was carried out flawlessly.

“The success we had in ensuring that the presidential elections of the Dominican Republic were carried out efficiently, transparently, and free of technical failures was possible thanks to the work and dedication of many people; but the support, experience, and excellence of the Intcomex Cloud support teams were instrumental in putting the results of these elections above any questioning. As partners and as Dominicans, we just couldn’t be happier to work with Intcomex Cloud.”

Commented Gina Guzmán, at C-Ven.