Email messages used in effort to discredit candidate

There was some skulduggery Sunday carried by emails and Facebook. The goal seemed to be to diminish the vote for Luis Guillermo Solís, the Partido Acción Ciudadana candidate.

An email said that he would support Villalta in the second round of voting. The parties of the left in Costa Rica ought to be together, he was quoted as saying.

Then the same source,, sent out a report of an exit poll showing that the battle is between Araya and Villalta, The supposed news article was said to have come from The Associate Press.

A Facebook page carrying the name of the same organization took a shot at Solís amid reports that appear to be real news. They were a mixture of snippets from La Nación and press releases from the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones. The one entry that was not said that Solís went to a Montes de Oca cemetery to put flowers on his mother’s grave but that he could not find it.

That suggested Solis only tried to do that for political reasons.

In fact, the Solís campaign had released a photo of the candidate placing the flowers, and the Facebook claim was false.

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is expected to investigate. The domain from which the supposed story came is protected by a confidentiality firm, so the owner of the site was not known immediately.

Voting from overseas

Costa Ricans in 42 other countries were able to vote Sunday for the first time. The Tribunal de Elecciones estimates that there are 12,645 Costa Ricans overseas. Polling spots were set up at Costa Rican consulates in these countries. The Minsterio de Relaciones Exteriores, which operates the consulates, sent photos of voting in many countries, including France where a Costa Rica woman was able to vote for the first time in 35 years.

Electronic simulation

Some 4,400 voters were able to participate in a simulation of electronic voting as certain polling places Sunday. As they were voting with paper ballots, the visitors to these sites were offered the chance to vote again electronically. The electronic votes did not count in the current elections, but officials hope to install electronic voting for the 2016 municipal elections.

Newspeople robbed

The Fuerza Pública reported just one incident at polling places. That was at the Escuela José María Figueres Ferrer in Sabanilla where reporters gathered to watch Frente Amplio candidate José María Villalta cast his ballot about 7 a.m.. While the crowd was watching Villalta, three men locked two Agence France-Presse staffers in a bathroom and stole their equipment.

Lots of air time

Two major television stations produced day-long voting programs, and staffers had to fill the air with videos of candidates voting, comments from analysts and even summaries of cartoons on YouTube that related to the election.

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