Two Days before the Local Elections in Bulgaria: Huge Scandal with the Voting Machines

Elections | October 27, 2023, Friday // 14:32|  views

A voting machine from the last parliamentary elections

A day before the local elections, a huge scandal broke out. It was created by "There Is Such a People" (TISP) with the cooperation of the State Agency for National Security (SANS), and this time instead of manipulation with paper ballots (like the infamous Kostinbrod Affair), it is claimed to be a manipulation of the machines.

The storyline involves a deputy minister, who allegedly collected the software codes on a flash drive and a mysterious recording. TISP summarized that a "coup d'état" was being prepared... with the "printers" for voting, as the devices were turned into by the last parliament (by GERB, BSP and DPS). In practice, they only print receipts showing the voter's vote for verification, and then election commission employees count them without taking into account the data from the machines' memory. 

In the parliament, before the start of today's extraordinary meeting, TISP Deputy Chairman Toshko Yordanov stood in front of the media to announce how the parliament received a report from the "Bulgarian FBI" and began his story:

"On October 25, two days after the Central Election Commission made public the generation of the so-called hash code, which is one of the keys to protect the machines, the Deputy Minister of Electronic Management Mihail Stoynev enters the hall, repeated the entire procedure, took a picture with his phone, downloaded the information to a flash drive - and all of this wo days ago. This is how the machines are manipulated."

Toshko Yordanov repeated several times how the "deputy minister from WCC-DB" downloaded the codes to a flash drive and "now we can only suspect where they are", then summarized:

"There should not be a single machine in this election because all the machines are compromised!

This one should be arrested immediately. The prosecutor's office must be activated because a coup d'état has taken place!

They recorded this one! And they're dumb like... like I don't know what you are!"

After that, an enraged Yordanov demanded a hearing of the Central Election Commission and Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel, who is currently replacing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, who is abroad.

The scandal was extremely big, claims the chairman of the TISP parliamentary group. And for the hundredth time he once again repeated how "WCC and DB are falsifying the elections through their people in the executive power - do you understand what we are talking about!" And Stanislav Balabanov repeated, "an attempt at a coup d'état, after which there must be an immediate resignation".

Toshko Yordanov, however, did not like the question of how he explains this report of SANS the day before the elections against the background of the publicly known fact - that there is tension between the ruling majority and SANS (More precisely, between WCC-DB and the service, since the party asked the resignation of its chairman, as well as reform in all offices. GERB and DPS were against).

"Do you understand how stupid a question you are asking me, colleague? There is a crime! What is more important - that there is a crime and election manipulation, there is also a video recording of the crime! What is important?"

Unsurprisingly, the informal leader and spokesperson of DPS - Delyan Peevski, sanctioned under the "Magnitsky Act" - intervened in the "affair" to attack the executive power again.

"So, right now, on this topic, the minister, the deputy minister and the prime minister must take responsibility - to explain what is happening. Because this is happening in the government! A deputy minister, who was appointed by the prime minister, took a picture with his phone the computer has the hash codes to manipulate the machines. That's why we have called the CEC right now - to find a solution. There should be no machines on Sunday! If these machines remain for the elections, every candidate will appeal them and these elections are already under the sign of the defamation!"

Again no surprise - GERB also declared against the devices. SANS should "in the fastest way" refer to the prosecutor's office - announced the chairwoman of the parliamentary group, Desislava Atanasova.

"Anyone who has the sense to appeal the possible results of the elections would do so. We do not know these two codes in how many machines the software has been installed in" - doubted Atanasova.

It was a "breach of national security".

"We as a party have already experienced 'Kostinbrod' once" - ironically, she pointed out.

Because of the created hysteria, the Council of Ministers called an extraordinary briefing. The Minister of e-Government Alexander Iolovski spoke, who described all the steps of the process of installing the machines, establishing their suitability, generating the hash code, etc. and assured:

"No software can be put on the machines to change the results. The hash code is public."

"The machines work like a printer. They print a receipt on which the vote cast by each voter can be seen."

As for his deputy from the "recording", Iolovski assured that he authorized him to deal with the voting machines.

We remind you that whether the vote is cast by machine ballot or paper ballot, it will not be counted by the machine's software. The software is only used to print the receipt.

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Tags: vote, machines, election


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