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Bucharest
October 25, 2020
POLITICS

Local elections budget 350 million lei, 18,616 polling places, 50,000 persons for policing

The budget allocated to the 5 June local elections is 350,663,000 lei; 18,616 polling stations will be set up, Internal Affairs Minister Petre Toba (photo) announced at the Thursday’s sitting of the central technical committee for the coordination of local elections.

“The allocation of money from the state budget is carried out through the budgets of the Internal Affairs Ministry, the Government’s General Secretariat, the Permanent Electoral Authority and the Special Telecommunications Service,” said Toba.

“Since it is about local elections (…) the vote will be only cast in the residence locality, be it permanent or temporary,” the minister specified.

“The MAI has already drafted the general plan of measures on maintaining and ensuring the public safety before and during the electoral campaign. (…) From all our estimates, we have 50,000 police staff, gendarmes and fire fighters to be involved in public order measures in connection with the electoral process,” he explained.

 

IntMin Toba: I’m asking all colleagues to firmly enforce law, be unbiased toward election competitors

 

Interior Minister Petre Toba on Thursday called on his colleagues to firmly enforce law, saying that the principles that should govern their activity for the local elections are legality and fairness toward all the election competitors.

He told the meeting of the central technical board responsible for the coordination of local elections that there are currently no special problems, and activities are going on schedule.

Toba also said that as well as conducting the activities related to the election calendar and process, the Interior Ministry (MAI) has also prepared and will conduct a public information campaign. “We have already sent 22,000 posters nationwide to be posted at all the polling stations and we have also created three television videos to be aired by the main television broadcasters,” Toba explained.

He added that a special section exists on the MAI website for the local elections, where election information is posted.

 

“Voter turnout monitoring system to undergo tests; first on May 22”

 

An information system for the monitoring of voter turnout and the prevention of multiple voting will undergo three tests, with the first one to be conducted on May 22, Interior Minister Petre Toba told a meeting on Thursday of the central technical board responsible for the coordination of local elections.

“The novelty in this electoral campaign is the information system for the monitoring of voter turnout and the prevention of multiple voting, a system created by the Permanent Electoral Authority and the Special Telecommunications Service (STS). This is a very useful system for real-time detection of multiple voting attempts and also to monitor voter turnout. This novelty entails organisational adjustments and changes. We have taken measures and hired data operators and computer engineers while training them to be prepared for the voting. Given the novelty of the information system, I have asked my colleagues from AEP and STS to conduct together three tests under circumstances that are as close to the real ones during voting as possible. And we scheduled the first testing for May 22, a Sunday,” said Toba.

He added that the test scenario will be as close to reality as possible precisely to identify vulnerabilities in the system or any other measures. He mentioned that also identified will be measures to be taken in case of heavy presence at the polling stations.

Toba also called on the prefects and the Education Ministry to continue their support for AEP and STS conducting the three tests by the election day.

In his turn, AEP Deputy Chairman Marian Muhulet told the meeting of the central technical board responsible for the coordination of local elections that AEP and STS will provide training for the May 22 test.

 

Special Telecommunications Service head: Electronic equipment in all polling stations to prevent multiple vote

 

All the polling stations set up in Romania for the local elections will have electronic equipment installed, and an application will register the voters’ personal identification numbers to prevent multiple voting, and will refer to the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC) the necessary information for the voter count, director of the Special Telecommunications Service (STS) Marcel Opris told the sitting of the Central Technical Commission for the coordination of local elections organization this Thursday.

“All the polling stations in Romania will be equipped with electronic devices. Not even one station will be left without electronic contact means. Of these, just to let you know in before, there are 24 polling stations with an insignificant number of voters entered on the permanent electoral lists where the automated mechanisms defined in the applications will not operate; specially trained staff will provide the necessary assistance and the data from there will be communicated through voice systems. Operators at the central dispatch unit under the BEC authority will notify and introduce this data in the system. Yet I repeat, the number of voters on the electoral lists there is insignificant, these are highly isolated settlements, hamlets with a number of voters between 5 and a few dozens, we’ll announce you the precise figure. Any data communicated from there will be registered to be assessed by authorities in case of suspicions,” explained Marcel Opris.

He also remarked the support of the population for the preparation of the local elections, in particular of the three tests which will be run until elections, the first of which is to take place on May 22.

The STS head said that the equipment was already installed at the polling stations.

He also offered details about the two categories of applications to be used in elections.

“One application registers the personal identification numbers to avoid multiple voting, but at the same it provides the BEC the necessary information to count the voters. Unlike previous elections, this time BEC will have the exact number of the voters who checked into the application ticking second by second,” said Opris, adding that this information will be available online.

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