Colombia’s Presidential Elections, First Round 2014

A Photo Essay.

col-flagI was an international elections observer in Bogotá, Colombia this past Sunday for the first round of the presidential elections (second round will be June 15).  I will have a write-up on the results (and the pending second round) shortly, but here is the day in photos, from 7:30 until about 5:00 (voting was from 8-4).

Here is the official opening of voting at the Plaza de Bolívar (where the Capitol building, Palace of Justice, and Mayor’s Office converge—the presidential residence is behind the capitol).

(All photos can be clicked for larger viewing).

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round) Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Bogotá Maor Gustavo Petro look on:

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Each polling station consists of a number of tables (“mesas”) run by citizens who have been selected in a manner similar to jury duty in the US. Each table should have 6 jurados who set up the table and then at least three man it for half the day each, with all returning to count at 4pm.

Polling stations in the Plaza (Mayor’s office, then in front of the Palacio de Justicia):

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round) Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Voting stations (usually 3 per table—cardboard because the voting stations are set up in school classrooms and such):

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Citizens check lists of national ID card numbers to find out at which table to vote at the given voting location.  All Colombian citizens have an ID card and must register it to vote so that it can be assigned the proper voting location.  Some of the polling sites in this year’s contest used biometric devices to read fingerprints as an additional ID check (I saw this at the Plaza, but not at the other sites I visited, all of which were in poorer sections of the city):

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round) Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round) Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Immediately after the polls close (4pm), each table counts their box and reports the findings to the National Registry. The counting is viewed by national and interanationl observers, state officials, and witnesses from the various parties (if they choose to send them).

Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round) Presidential Elections 2014 (First Round)

Since it was one ballot with one simple choice, the results were being reported within an hour of the close of the polls, with ongoing updates coming out regularly as the evening went on.   The second round will feature the incumbent president, Manuel Santos versus Óscar Zuluaga (who actually came in first in the first round).  More on that later.

FILED UNDER: Latin America, World Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. But where do the major candidates stand on the feral cocaine hippo problem?

  2. Lahar says:

    Although Colombia still has difficult issues to resolve, I hope that they continue to exhibit the political maturity and openness that has helped them get to where they are today. This is a wonderful country full of many wonderful people.

  3. Andre Kenji says:

    It´s similar to what happens in Brazil, with the exception that there is eletronic voting and there are no people on the tables outside the voting rooms. By the way, we have both Elections and World Cup this year, Steven, so it´s a good year for you to visit us. 🙂

  4. @Andre Kenji: I would love to visit! I have never been to the main part of Brazil, just the frontier with Colombia (Tabatinga and Benjamin Constant).

  5. Andre Kenji says:

    Steven, come here to visit us. I can help you with accommodations(43 miles from city of São Paulo). Unfortunately, the US team is not going to play in São Paulo, unless they reach the semifinals, so, I can´t help you there. 😉