We the undersigned call for Bolivia’s democratic institutions and processes to be respected.

MAP/Sustainable Bolivia/Duck Duck Go

The Trump administration has openly and strongly supported the military coup of November 10 that overthrew the government of President Evo Morales. Everyone agrees that Morales was democratically elected in 2014, and that his term does not end until January 22; yet many outside of the Trump administration seem to accept the Trump-supported military coup.

Many people who supported the coup have claimed that Morales stole the election. This story of fraud was given a very big boost by a statement issued by the Organization of American States the day after the October 20 election, which it subsequently repeated in similar forms. The statement, from the OAS Electoral Observation Mission for Bolivia, announced “deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results after the closing of the polls.” No evidence in support of this statement was included. However, it was widely interpreted as an allegation of fraud, and such allegations became common in the largest media since the election.

In fact, it is easy to show with election data, which is publicly available, that the change in Morales’ lead was neither “drastic” nor “hard to explain.” There was a pause in the “quick count” of the vote results — when 84 percent of the votes were counted — and Morales’ lead was at 7.9 percentage points. At 95 percent, his margin had increased to just over 10 percent, which allowed Morales to win in the first round, without a runoff. By the end, the official count showed a lead of 10.6 percent.[1]

It is not uncommon for election results to be skewed by location, which means that results can change depending on when different areas’ votes get counted. No one argued that there was fraud in Louisiana’s November 16 gubernatorial election, when the Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards, pulled out a 2.6 percentage point victory, after being behind all night, because he won 90 percent of the vote in Orleans County, which came in at the end of the count.

And the change in Morales’ lead was not “drastic” at all; it was part of a steady, continuous increase in Morales’ lead for hours before the interruption.

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