The members of the polling stations’ electoral offices will find out each voter’s political options based on how many voting ballots they request: only one for the European Parliament elections, or one for the referendum too, the representatives of APADOR-CH point out. According to them, the secrecy of the ballot is thus infringed upon.
“It seems that, this time around, the members of the polling station’s electoral office will know how each person votes. No, they will not look inside the voting booth the moment the ballot is being stamped, they will do so before that, by looking at the number of voting ballots each voter accepts. Thus, they will immediately figure out for which side (ruling power or Opposition) each voter has voted: if they take 1 voting ballot – they vote for the ruling power; if they take 3 voting ballots – they vote for the Opposition). How will they do this? Very simple. Two types of voting will take place simultaneously, on the same day, in the same polling stations and at the same electoral offices: the European Parliament elections and the referendum. Voting in the European Parliament elections will entail one voting ballot, while voting in the referendum will entail two voting ballots (one ballot for each of the two questions). The referendum is supported by the Opposition and criticised – in a more or less veiled manner – by the ruling power,” the representatives of APADOR-CH stated.
According to them a voter turnout of at least 30 per cent is necessary for the referendum to be validated. Meaning that at least 30 per cent of voters should not refuse the two voting ballots for the referendum.
“Any consent to vote in the referendum means first of all support for the referendum, since it thus helps reach the turnout threshold of at least 30 per cent. Based on the experience of past referendums, most of those who take part in the referendum vote ‘yes.’ The only problem was that, most of the times, the voters were not sufficiently numerous for the threshold to be reached. So, if the threshold is reached the referendum will pass (the ‘yes’ votes being dominant), that’s what statistics teach us,” the association’s representatives added.
According to them, “those who make the effort to go to the polling station and, even though they went there, do not want to take part in one of the two types of elections, for example in the referendum, are clearly against that type of elections and, logically, against those who support it (the Opposition), so they are voting for the ruling power. And vice versa.”
“Voters will probably not be marked with a piece of chalk on their back, like in the past, but the members of the polling station’s electoral bureaus will be able to draft exact lists of voters who are for or against the ruling power or the Opposition. Lists that will end up at the political parties whose members the members of the [electoral] offices are. So on, so forth. In these conditions, can we still talk about guaranteeing the secrecy of the ballot? Obviously not,” APADOR-CH points out.
The representatives of APADOR-CH stated that when it accepted that the referendum would take place simultaneously with European Parliament elections the Constitutional Court “did not think that it thus opens the path to compromising the secrecy of the ballot.”
“Does anyone have anything to hide in a transparent society as ours? Is secret ballot, private life, privacy still needed? We believe it is, and we believe that, once lost, it will be very difficult or impossible to recover these values,” said the representatives of the organisation, pointing out that the voter turnout threshold could have been eliminated for the referendum and separate electoral offices/polling stations could have been set up.
The referendum on the judiciary, triggered by President Klaus Iohannis, will take place on May 26, simultaneously with the European Parliament elections, at the same polling stations.