The number of Costa Ricans abroad registered to vote in the national elections next February amounts to 50,833 people.That figure is four times higher than in 2014, with 12,654. On that occasion, it was the first time that the country implemented voting abroad.
The data were sent by Gerardo Abarca, acting director of the Electoral Registry of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).With respect to 2018, on that occasion, 31,864 people registered to cast their vote outside of Costa Rica.
The political scientist Sergio Araya considered that although it can be seen as a small figure compared to the total electoral roll of 3,541,908, in tight voting it could make a difference.Although, for the current process “it does not seem to me that this vote is going to set the tone for what the final result will be,” he analyzed.
Another point to consider is that the people who finally vote are much less than those who register. Araya pointed out aspects such as long distances between the home and the person consulted, a reason that would demotivate voters.
“In countries like Mexico or the United States, the distances can be wide and fall within the technical abstentionism that occurs not because they do not want to (vote) but because it is impossible,” explained Araya.
The political scientist pointed out that the political campaign is not directed towards this population, particularly because of the economic resources that the political parties have.
“This makes many reject focusing on more than a generic message or looking for people to collaborate with them as members of boards or prosecutors,” added the expert.
The first two experiences
The first two occasions in which there was a vote abroad occurred in 2014 and 2018. It is striking that both in the first and second rounds, they cast their vote for the PAC candidates.
In the first round of 2014, Luis Guillermo Solís obtained 1,147 votes, against Johnny Araya of the PLN with 737 and José MaríaVillalta of the FrenteAmplio with 403. In the second round, Solís won with 1,541 votes abroad.
In 2018, for the first round, Carlos Alvarado from the PAC obtained 1,655 votes abroad, followed by Rodolfo Piza from the PUSC with 998 and Antonio Álvarez from the PLN with 748.Alvarado also won in the second round thanks to 3707 obtained outside of Costa Rica.
Araya considered that this panorama could be explained from the political situation of each of those moments, beginning with a speech of change with Solís and the division that arose in 2018 between Carlos Alvarado and Fabricio Alvarado.
Additionally, it could be due to the profile of the Costa Rican outside the country with university studies. For the next elections, the TSE authorized 52 consulates in 42 countries to vote.