Like much of Latin America, Ecuador’s past decade has revolved around the region’s so-called pink tide. Under the banner of equality and justice, Rafael Correa and Alianza Pais have led our nation for 10 years, advocating for a failed economic model and upholding a mandate based on intimidation and corruption. The result was record high unemployment and a contracting economy. But their failures and lies reached a new peak on April 2, when the government proved just how far it as willing to go for power.

For the first time since 2007, Ecuador faced the unique opportunity to change the course of history. Tens of thousands volunteered across the country and millions rallied on April 2, choosing to give change a chance. They instilled their confidence in Guillermo Lasso, telling Correa and his successor, Lenin Moreno, that their time was up. Ecuador was ready for something better.

Unfortunately, the opponent was ready to cling on to power at all cost. We knew from the beginning that the road would be challenging, and understood the difficulties of running against a government machine. After all, they control most of the media, must approve all campaign advertising, and utilize government funds to promote their own messages. A part of us, though, expected votes to at least be counted fairly.

This was simply not the case.

First, three pollsters gave Guillermo Lasso a victory of four to six points after conducting exit polls on election day. Chief among them is Gallup Cedatos, the country’s most respected polling firm and the only one to accurately predict the results of the first-round election on February 19. In fact, the largest gap in their 35 years conducting exit polls in Ecuador has been 1.5 points. On April 2, their exit polls gave Guillermo Lasso a six-point lead ahead of Moreno.  

We have voiced our concerns across Ecuador, but it is essential for the international community to be aware as well. Our citizens have taken to the streets peacefully to make sure their voices are heard and protected. We will not let them down. We will not allow our democracy to tumble.

Second, it took the electoral committee four days to announce the results during the first-round election on February 19. This time, we hoped they would manage to count a little faster, but were shocked to see it took them only three hours – especially since their website had been down for 45 minutes.

Throughout the past few months, we have been able to gather an army of 45,000 volunteers ready to protect the vote. We had monitors in every single precinct, and their fast count appears to be consistent with the lead granted by Gallup’s exit poll.

The issue stems in the fact that just hours after the polls had closed, our volunteers had already encountered numerous irregularities across the country. For example, 248 people voted in the Parish of San Francisco, in the Province of Tungurahua. While our reports show that 142 voted for Guillermo Lasso and 89 for Lenin Moreno, the electoral committee reports show the exact opposite (142 for Moreno and 89 for Lasso). Unfortunately, this is just one example of inconsistencies – or rather simply fraud – found across the country.

Many have asked about Participación Ciudadana, the trusted NGO that has been counting votes in Ecuador over the past few decades. Their results show an election too close to call. However, it is important to note that they count official precinct reports – not votes. These are the reports issued by the electoral committee that may have already been tampered with and altered. As such, their results may simply not be as accurate as they have been in the past.

The electoral committee is hoping to close this process quickly and proclaim Lenin Moreno as the next president of Ecuador. We simply cannot recognize this result, though. Doing so would be lying to every single Ecuadorian. We demand a full recount of votes, and the ability to compare our reports with those of the electoral committee. This is the only way we will be able to understand and correct any discrepancies, and guarantee a fair election.

We have voiced our concerns across Ecuador, but it is essential for the international community to be aware as well. Our citizens have taken to the streets peacefully to make sure their voices are heard and protected. We will not let them down. We will not allow our democracy to tumble.