POLITICS

European elections, justice referendum Sunday in Romania; over 18 million voters expected at ballot boxes. End of campaign, as of Saturday morning broadcasting of electoral messages, banned

More than 18 million voters are expected on Sunday to designate 33 representatives of Romania to the European Parliament and to vote in a national consultative referendum convened by President Klaus Iohannis on justice matters.

The voters will receive three ballot papers – one for the European elections and two for the referendum. The insertion of a ballot paper in a ballot box other than the intended one does not invalidate it.

The voters cast their ballots at the same polling stations, at the same time, between 07:00hrs and 21:00hrs, with the same stamps reading “VOTAT” (VOTED) on separate papers – one for the European elections and one for each question in the referendum.

In this referendum, citizens have to choose between “Yes” and “No” on the following questions:

 

  1. “Do you agree with banning amnesty and pardon for corruption offences?”

 

  1. Do you agree with the ban on the government’s adoption of emergency ordinances in the field of criminal offences, punishments and judicial organisation, and the extension of the right to challenge orders directly with the Constitutional Court?”

Three ballot boxes will be set up at each polling station, one for each ballot paper.

The voter may vote in one election or both. They have to produce an identity card to the computer operator and specify in what plebiscite they want to vote.

Voter turnout will be recorded on separate electoral rolls for the two types of ballot.

To the ID document, the “VOTAT” stamp will be stamped along with the date of the ballot, or, just one “VOTAT” sticker and the date of the ballot, according to the case.

 

*** 13 political formations and 3 independents are vying for a seat in the European Parliament

 

Joining the electoral race are candidates endorsed by the Social Democratic Party (PSD); the Save Romania Union PLUS 2020 Alliance (Alianta 2020 USR PLUS); the Pro Democracy Party; the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE); the PRODEMO Party; the People’s Movement Party (PMP); the Romanian Socialist Party; the Independent Social Democratic Party; the United Romania Party; the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR); the National Unity Bloc (BUN). Also running are three independent candidates – Gregorian-Carmen Tudoran; George Nicolae Simion, and Peter Costea.

 

*** 18,949,141 enfranchised Romanians expected for the polls

 

According to the latest information from the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), the total number of citizens enabled to vote recorded in the electoral register as of March 3, 2019 is 18,949,141.

For the two elections on Sunday, 18,730 polling stations will be set up in Romania, while the Romanian nationals abroad will be able to vote at 441 stations.

For the 441 polling stations set up for Romanian voters abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent 4,000,500 ballot papers, both for the European elections and for the national referendum. There have been 1,333,500 ballot papers distributed for the election of Romania’s candidates to the European Parliament, for question no. 1 in the national referendum, and for question no. 2 in the same referendum. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also sent 1,301,230 “VOTAT”stickers and 2,147 “VOTAT” stamps.

In Bucharest, there will be 1,269 polling stations: 166 in District 1; 202 in District 2; 287 in District 3; 183 in District 4; 197 in District 5, and 234 in District 6.

The Romanian citizens who are 18 years or turn 18 on the election day have the right to elect Romania’s representatives to the European Parliament.

Voters who on election day are in their domicile or residence area will vote at the polling stations to which they are assigned. Those who are in a different location on election day (small town, city, municipality) than their own will have the right to vote at any polling station and will be registered on an additional electoral list.

Allowed to vote in the election to the European Parliament held in Romania are also the European Community citizens who have been entered on special lists. A European Community voter is understood to mean any citizen of a member state of the European Union other than Romania who has the right to vote in Romania in the elections to the European Parliament having a domicile or residence in Romania in accordance with the provisions of the relevant law. They may not vote in the referendum.

No mentally incapacitated persons under restrains and who, on election day, are serving a final court decision entailing disenfranchisement are entitled to vote.

 

Also, Romanian citizens who are recorded in the electoral rolls of other member states are not entitled vote in the European elections in Romania. They can only vote for the lists/candidates in that state.

 

*** Voting starts at 07.00hrs and ends at 21:00hrs

 

The polling stations have to make sure that the voting hours are posted in a visible place. Voters may vote at the section where they have been entered in the copy of the permanent electoral roll or in the copy of the special electoral roll at any other polling station.

Voters’ access to the voting room takes place in series matching the number of the polling booths. The national voter and the community voter produce an ID document to the electoral bureau at the polling station. The chair of the electoral bureau of the polling stations or the member appointed by the chair will check whether the voter is on the copy of the permanent electoral roll or on the special electoral list, after which the voter signs the list at the position carrying his or her name. Based on the signature on the copy of the permanent electoral roll or on the special electoral list, the chair or the member of the electoral bureau of the polling station appointed by him/her shall hand the voter the ballot paper(s) and the “VOTAT” stamp.

The voters cast their ballots in separated, closed booths, by stamping “VOTAT” the quadrilateral containing the list of candidates or the first name and the name of the independent candidate they vote for. The “VOTAT” stamp must be sized to be smaller than the quadrilateral.

The presence of any person in the voting booth other than the one who votes is forbidden. The voter who, for good reasons indicated by the chair of the electoral bureau of the polling station, cannot vote alone has the right to call in the polling booth a chaperon chosen for help. Such chaperon may not be from among the observers or members of the polling station’s electoral bureau.

After voting, the voters will bend the ballot papers so that the unprinted page bearing the control stamp stays out and put them in the box, making sure they do not open. Erroneously bending the paper does not invalidate it.

At the request of the voter, if he or she has misapplied the “VOTAT” stamp but has not introduced the ballot paper in the ballot box, the chair of the polling station’s electoral office may issue one and only one new ballot paper, preserving the original ballot paper for cancellation.

The stamp handed for voting will be returned to the chair or members of the polling station’s electoral bureau designated by him, after which the chair or the member stamps the ID documents “VOTAT” and writes down the  date of the ballot or apply a “VOTAT” sticker and writes down the date of the ballot.

Chairs are allowed to take measures to make sure that the stationing of a voter in the voting booth does not unduly prolong.

They may suspend voting for good reasons. The total length of suspensions may not exceed one hour. Suspension is announced by displaying it at the door to the polling station as soon as the event that triggered it occurs.

During the suspension, the ballot boxes, stamps, ballot papers and other documents and materials of the polling station’s electoral bureau will remain under permanent guard. During the suspension, more than half of the members of the district electoral bureau cannot leave the polling station at the same time. Candidates and observers helping with the vote may not be made to leave the voting room during that time.

 

*** Special ballot boxes

 

Requests from voters who cannot travel due to illness or disability demanding the displacement of a special ballot will be submitted by the eve of the elections, at the latest, according to a decision of the Central Electoral Bureau. Written requests made by voters unable to travel due to illness or disability, accompanied by copies of medical records or other official documents attesting to the persons concerned being unable to travel and requesting the dispatch of the special box, shall be submitted by the eve of the election, at the latest.

According to BEC, the request for the special ballot paper made by the voter has to be dated and signed, and include the name, surname, date of birth, personal identification number, address, serial number and number of a valid identity document, as well as current address.

At the same time, persons remanded in custody who have not lost their electoral rights may also vote using the special ballot box.

 

*** Instances leading to the vote being considered void, valid or blank

 

The ballot papers on which the polling station’s control stamp is missing, the papers of a model other than the legally approved one, the papers on which the “VOTAT” stamp is missing or the stamp is affixed to more than one square of the quadrilateral will be deemed invalid; the vote is valid when the stamp exceeds the limits of the quadrilateral but the voter’s option is obvious; invalid ballot papers do not count for the count of valid ones.

Also the votes cast in any of the following instances will be valid: the”VOTAT” stamp is applied in a single quadrilateral; the stamp exceeds the limits of the quadrilateral but the voter’s option is obvious (including the situation where the stamp is only at a tangent to one quadrilateral, but not touching another); the stamp is confined to one quadrilateral, but the voter’s ballot paper contains various statements of the voter (the vote is considered valid irrespective of what is written on the paper); the stamp marked is confined to one quadrilateral, but the voter stamps the paper more than once, provided that any other quadrilateral is not touched.

The ballot papers not stamped “VOTAT” are considered blank votes and they do not count for the valid votes.

 

*** PSD – topping the ballot paper

 

PSD is topping the ballot papers for the May 26 elections to the European Parliament, followed by the Alianta 2020 USR PLUS and the Pro Romania Party.

Next are UDMR, PNL, ALDE, PRODEMO Party, PMP, Romanian Socialist Party, Independent Social Democratic Party, United Romania Party, UNPR, and BUN in that order.

Last on the ballot papers are independent candidates – Gregorian-Carmen Tudoran, George Nicolae Simion and Peter Costea.

 

***Exit polls

 

The Central Electoral Bureau has accredited CURS and AVANGARDE for nationwide exit polls in the May 26 European elections.

At the same time, BEC has also accredited SC Megatronic World Productions SRL to conduct exit polls in the European elections in Mures County, and the Pro Democratia Association to do the same in Cluj County.

 

*** Public release of counts

 

BEC, the county electoral bureaus, the electoral bureaus of the Bucharest City, and the electoral bureau for the polling stations abroad will deliver partial daily results, starting at 09:00hrs, EEST, on May 27.

The hours when information is available and released are 11:00hrs, 15:00hrs, 17:00hrs, and 20:00hrs for reference hours 09:00hrs, 13:00hrs, 15:00hrs, and 18:00hrs.

 

End of campaign, as of Saturday morning broadcasting of electoral messages, banned

 

The electoral campaign for the European Parliament elections ends at 7:00 am on Saturday.

For 30 days, the parties in the race for a seat in the European Parliament, as well as the independent candidates, have tried to convince the electorate that they deserve to represent them in Brussels.

During this time, the voters were also informed about the national consultative referendum convened by President Klaus Iohannis on Justice issues. On Sunday, citizens with the right to vote have to say their opinion on the topics proposed by the head of state.

According to the legislation in force, after the end of the electoral campaign, it is forbidden to broadcast electoral messages in audio, visual or mixed form on digital screens located in public or private places, as well as by means of specially designed vehicles.

On the day of voting, between 7:00 am and 21:00 pm, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages are forbidden in the protection area of the polling station where the elections are held.

The chairperson of the polling station electoral bureau is obliged to take the necessary measures for the elections to proceed in good conditions.

On voting day it is forbidden to present the opinion polls when leaving the ballot box before voting is over.

 

More than 50,000 MAI employees on duty on elections day; 18,730 polling stations in the country, 441 abroad

 

More than 50,000 Interior Ministry (MAI) employees will ensure public order, protect the environs of polling stations, investigate electoral incidents and secure the transport of files from local electoral bureaus to the Central Electoral Bureau. There are 18,730 polling stations at national level and 441 abroad.

The Central Technical Commission coordinating the organising of the European Parliament elections and national referendum met on Thursday at the Interior Ministry. The meeting was chaired by Interior Minister Carmen Dan. The representatives of all institutions that are part of the Central Technical Commission, the prefects, and the heads of MAI’s local branches took part in it.

The meeting reviewed the stage of fulfilling the tasks incumbent upon each institution, and addressed the latest organisational details, a MAI press release informs.

According to the law, citizens will vote in the EP elections and the referendum within the same polling stations, and during the same schedule (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.), using the same voting stamps but separate voting ballots: one for the European Parliament elections and two for the referendum (one for each question asked).

The MAI has monitored the observance of the electoral schedule on a weekly basis, the actions being on time up to this point.

On elections day, more than 50,000 MAI employees will be on duty, ensuring public order, protecting the environs of polling stations, as well as investigating electoral incidents. Likewise, MAI employees will secure the transport of files from local electoral bureaus to the Central Electoral Bureau.

“MAI employees have no prerogatives regarding voting operations or what happens inside polling stations. The president of the electoral bureau of the polling station is responsible for the measures required to ensure order and the fairness of voting operations. To maintain order, the president of the electoral bureau of the polling station can request the support of MAI employees, who will enter the polling station only at his explicit request! (…) I firmly call on all those taking part in this electoral process to show fairness and good faith: I’m talking about those involved in organising the elections, about electoral competitors, but also about voters,” Minister Carmen Dan said.

Voters cast their votes in the polling stations to which they are allotted based on their place of residence, in line with the permanent electoral lists. Citizens who find themselves away from their place of residence on elections day can vote in any polling station and will be included on a supplementary list.

For voters who want to vote but lack a valid identity card, the Bucharest-based Directorate for Personal Records and Database Management and the public community services for personal records in Bucharest and the rest of the counties will be open on May 25-26 in line with schedules established at local level.

At national level, there will be 18,730 polling stations.

During the meeting, Foreign Ministry Deputy Secretary General Bogdan Alexandru Moisii pointed out that 441 polling stations have been organised abroad, based on proposals forwarded by the diplomatic missions and bearing in mind the requests lodged by Romanian communities.

The system for monitoring voter turnout and preventing multiple voting (SIMPV) will be used in order to ensure the fairness of the elections.

Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) President Constantin Mituletu-Buica presented the prerogatives that the electoral bureaus of the polling stations have the day before elections day, as well as the voting procedure, pointing out that the procedure was successfully tested in a simulation that took place at the AEP headquarters on Wednesday.

In his turn, Lieutenant-General Ionel Vasilca, Director of the Special Telecommunications Service, pointed out that the SIMPV system underwent four endurance tests and one simulation. At the same time, he stated that all infrastructure elements and IT programmes required to ensure the proper unfolding of the voting process have been provided for, including those required in case of dysfunctionalities, adding that the regional intervention centres and the Technical Support Centre are operational.

At the end of the meeting, Minister Carmen Dan pointed out that any violation of the law as regards the unfolding of the electoral process can be reported using the 112 emergency number or directly to MAI employees. Likewise, the minister pointed out that the notifications will be investigated in line with prerogatives, many of the guilty acts infringing upon electoral law falling under the prerogatives of electoral bureaus.

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