Carter Center Commends Bolivians and the Electoral Tribunal on a Calm and Respectful Election

(En español)

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (Oct. 23, 2020) — The Carter Center today released a preliminary report (PDF) about Bolivia’s Oct. 18 general elections, which saw record participation and intense political competition despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the political tensions that have roiled the country in the past year.

Bolivian citizens reaffirmed their support for democracy in a calm and respectful atmosphere on election day, which local citizen observers described as well-organized and incident-free. The counting of the ballots was open to political party representatives, election observers, and interested citizens.

The Carter Center commends Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, known by its Spanish acronym, TSE, for conducting a complex election process with independence, impartiality, and transparency, paving the way back to the constitutional framework. The TSE operated with a high level of transparency during each stage of the process, from the updating and purging of the voter registry to the publication of the official results.

The TSE’s prudent decision to cancel the preliminary results system (DIREPRE) and to rely instead exclusively on the slower but more reliable official count in no way affected this transparency. While the decision led to a slower report of official results, Bolivians were able to see the detailed reports on the TSE website in real time.

The TSE also adopted biosecurity protocols and operational procedures to minimize COVID-19 risks during the electoral process, in accordance with the best international practices, and invested significant efforts in public communication and training for poll workers.

Background: The Carter Center electoral expert team began its work remotely in mid-July, meeting with key stakeholders via videoconference and analyzing the legal framework for the elections. On Oct. 3, two members of the team arrived in Bolivia to continue their work on the ground.

The expert team has focused on analysis of the legal framework, election administration – including the independence, impartiality, transparency, and technical efficiency of the TSE – and respect for core political participation rights, including freedom of the press, particularly in the context of the pandemic. Because of its limited size and scope, the team was not able to observe the campaign in the field and is not in a position to provide an assessment of voting and counting in polling stations. The team assessed the results aggregation process as transparent and broadly accessible by stakeholders.

In collaboration with Chequea Bolivia, The Carter Center also analyzed online disinformation targeting the electoral process and monitored political advertising on social media during the three months prior to election day. The Center’s analysis noted a limited use of paid political advertising on social media, and conversely, a proliferation of disinformation aimed at eroding the reputations of candidates and the TSE.

The Carter Center team will continue working until the conclusion of the electoral process, after which it will provide a longer and more detailed report on key pre- and postelection issues. The final report will include recommendations for future election processes.


El Centro Carter felicita a los bolivianos y al Tribunal Supremo Electoral por una jornada electoral que se desarrolló en un clima de civismo y respeto (PDF)


Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison, associate communications director,

In La Paz, José Antonio de Gabriel, head of mission,

Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.