The correspondence voting system, video and computerized monitoring in the polling stations, organizing more polling stations in the diaspora – these are the main novelties of the election process in 2016, compared with the legislative elections in 2012.
The parliamentary elections of this year will be carried out on 11 December, while the previous parliamentary elections took place on 9 December 2012.
On the electoral rolls, four years ago a number of 18,248,414 citizens having the right to vote were enrolled.
Currently, the numbers of electors enrolled in the Electoral Register, including citizens who will turn 18 years until the election date, namely 11 December, is 18,906,721, according to the data provided by the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP).
The total number of Romanian electors with the domicile or residence in Romania, valid on 8 November, is 18,297,431, and there is a number of 8,889 requests for correspondence voting, belonging to Romanian citizens settled abroad.
For the voting held four years ago a number of 306 polling stations were organized abroad, and 18,456 in the country.
This year the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) proposed to organize 417 polling stations in the diaspora, in over 90 countries, higher by 111 compared to the parliamentary elections in 2012 and higher by 123 in comparison to the presidential elections in 2014.
A first in the electoral process held on 11 December is that Romanians in the diaspora can vote by mail. The Law regarding the correspondence voting was adopted by Parliament in October 2015.
The Romanian citizens abroad could register with the Electoral Register until 14 September and had the possibility to each choose whether to exercise the voting by mail, or to request that a polling station be establish in the locality where they are residing.
Another novelty is that the current parliamentary elections will be using video cameras in the polling stations and the information system for monitoring the voter turnout will be further used, a system which was implemented for the local elections held in June and which guarantees that multiple voting will be avoided. In this manner the electors won’t be forced anymore to sign a statutory declaration that they haven’t voted in other polling station.
This system will be introduced to the legislative elections on 11 December also in the polling stations abroad.
In 2012 the electors could vote only in the polling station in which their street, locality or domicile was assigned, based on their identification documents. The Romanian citizens having the domicile or residence abroad could vote in the polling stations organized in the respective country.
Four years ago the vote was uninominal, the MPs being elected in 452 constituencies, from which 315 for the Deputies’ Chambers and 137 for the Senate. The current election system returns to the voting on the candidates lists lodged by the political formations.
The election campaign is carried out in the period 11 November – 10 December. The permanent electoral rolls will be written at least three days before the election date, on 8 December respectively. For organizing the elections the amount of 227,7 million lei was approved, and the necessary funds are stipulated in the budgets of the Interior Ministry (MAI), the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), the Special Telecommunications Service (STS), the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on categories of expenses.
Video monitoring and information system for turnout in diaspora
In the parliamentary election that will take place on 11 December video cameras in the polling stations, as well as the information system for monitoring the turnout will be used, a system that was implemented in the local ballot held in June.
The Government has decided that the existing application must have a video camera, which will be recording the vote counting process, and the minutes are to be filled in without interrupting the recording, General Director of the Special Telecommunications Service Marcel Opris explained.
On the parliamentary election day, the voting itself will not be video surveilled between the opening and the closing of the ballot boxes, but only in the period in which the ballot papers are counted, Interior Minister Dragos Tudorache underlined.
In the local elections held this year in June it was used, for the first time an information system of monitoring the turnout and avoiding the multiple voting. This system was implemented by the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), together with the Special Telecommunications Service (STS). This way, the electors won’t be forced anymore to sign the statutory declaration that they haven’t also voted in another polling station.
This system will be introduced in the legislative elections that will take place on 11 December and in the polling stations abroad, as Director of the Directorate for organizing the electoral process abroad within the AEP Iulian Ivan mentioned.
“In the local elections it has been introduced for the first time an information system that monitors the turnout and avoids the multiple voting, a project that was a success. Together with the STS and the AEP we have implemented this system, so that in every polling station there was an information terminal, a tablet through which every elector who was present to vote was identified in the system, thus not being able to go and vote somewhere else. The system will be extended, in the same way in the polling stations abroad,” the AEP representative explained.
Any Romanian in the diaspora can request to become an operator for a polling station, which is to be created in the locality where one has the residence or domicile, and will be paid for the activity performed.
The Government adopted in October a decision, through which the recording of the vote counting process in polling stations in the country and abroad for the parliamentary elections is mandatory.
The tablets which all the polling stations are equipped with, will be used to video record how the vote counting process will be carried out. The recordings will be made by the tablet operators, but they can’t be used as evidence in court.