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Piloting of postal voting given final reading

The draft law providing for the piloting of postal voting was given a final reading by Parliament. The MEPs accepted a number of amendments, including the inclusion of criteria for identifying countries where postal voting is to be implemented. Among the countries that meet these criteria are the United States of America, Canada, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Finland, and the Republic of Iceland, IPN reports.

Veronica Roșca, chairwoman of the parliamentary commission on legal affairs, appointments and immunities, said that several complex amendments had been tabled after the vote in the first reading. For example, criteria for selecting countries have been introduced. Thus, the conditions for the partial implementation of postal voting include the absence of polling stations in the host country and the long distance to the nearest previously established polling station, but also the experience of implementing this alternative voting method. It also goes to the pre-registration of at least 30 applications in the previous elections and the safety and reliability of postal services.

“Also, a provision was introduced to prevent postal voting in countries where Moldova doesn’t have diplomatic relations, in countries involved in military conflicts and in countries where international standards on conducting free and fair elections are not observed,” said Veronica Roșca.

According to her, uncertainty about the age of voters was also eliminated. Respectively, the persons who, when submitting the application, reached the age of majority will exercise their right to vote by mail. Another provision included in the document refers to the security of the vote. Thus, the envelope with voting materials will contain an affidavit. Voters will be required to sign it to confirm the exercise of the secret ballot. “At the same time, voters who do not respect the secrecy of the ballot will be penalized. It is proposed to supplement the Contravention Code with an article concerning the non-observance of the secrecy of the ballot, disclosure of the voting option expressed by mail or transmission of the ballot paper to a third person,” the commission’s chairwoman also said.

To vote by mail, the citizens will have to register for postal voting and receive a notification from the Central Election Commission about the completion of the registration procedure. At the same time, ballot papers will be sent to voters via diplomatic mail or regular postal services. The document also contains provisions on the procedure for counting and tableting votes and on situations in which the ballot papers are declared invalid.

The opposition leveled criticism at this legislative initiative, noting that they will challenge it in the Constitutional Court. MP of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists Vlad Batrîncea warned that Moldova is under the monitoring of the Council of Europe, is an EU candidate state and pledged not to amend the electoral legislation in an election year. According to him, the parliamentary majority promotes a bill that violates these commitments, violates the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, and moreover, this bill hadn’t been consulted with experts of the Venice Commission.

The draft law was adopted with the votes of 57 MPs.

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