Bulgaria Court to Rule on Election System Referendum, Machine Voting

Domestic | January 31, 2017, Tuesday // 09:51|  views

File photo, BGNES

A court will sit on Friday to determine whether the referendum held in November on the voting system is binding and whether machine voting should be mandatory for all polling stations.

Voters overwhelmingly backed in November the introduction of a majority electoral system, a drastic cut in party subsidies, and mandatory voting in both elections and referenda.

However, the turnout fell short of just over 12 000 to make the result binding, and the organizers of the referendum filed a court case with the Supreme Administrative Court against the figures announced by election authorities.

With the organizers having demanded a recount of the vote, even if the new activity figures go beyond the threshold, new election rules will not be implemented until the next vote as currently Bulgaria has no Parliament to work on the respective legislation.

Taking over from the previous cabinet, Bulgaria's interim government last week acknowledged it would be unable to provide the necessary number of voting machines prior to the snap election due on March 26.

Last year, under the new Electoral Code, the presidential election in November was designed to be the last one when electronic voting would be considered experimental and would only be in place in 500 polling stations across Bulgaria.

In any subsequent election, voters must have two options, namely use either a paper ballot or a voting machine. (In a few years, the options should also include online voting.)

But before the government of Bulgaria stepped down, the next election was scheduled for the fall of 2018, and the need to call a snap vote caught authorities off-guard.

Last week election authorities ruled machine voting will only be in place in 500 stations in March. New Republic, the movement being founded on Tuesday, appealed the decision, saying it went against the Electoral Code.

The government says there are no means to procure 12 000 voting machines on such a short notice.

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Tags: Referendum, electronic voting, machine voting, voting machines


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