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October 23, 2020
POLITICS

Elections during pandemic: Romanians elect their representatives in the local administration. AEP: Monitoring programme for local elections; representatives of diplomatic missions visit Bucharest polling stations

The approximately 18,800 polling stations organized in the country for the local elections opened on Sunday, with over 18 million voters being expected at the polls to elect their mayors, county council presidents, but also those who will be part, for four years, of the local and county councils.

Citizens can exercise their right to choose in 18,794 polling stations organized at national level, of which over 1,200 in Bucharest, most in sectors 3 and 6.

The voting process will end at 21:00, when the exit polls will be announced.

The COVID-19 pandemic determined new rules for voting on Sunday, for the first time Romanians being forced to comply with certain health protection measures, in order to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Entitled to vote are the Romanian citizens who have reached the age of 18, including those who reach this age on election day; Romanian citizens who have not been placed under interdiction or who have not been prohibited from exercising their right to vote, for the period established by a final court decision; citizens of the European Union who have their domicile or residence in Romania.

In local elections, the right to vote is exercised only in the commune, city, municipality or administrative-territorial subdivision of the municipality in which the voter has his/her domicile or residence, as the case may be.

Voters cast their ballots only at the polling station to which the street or locality of domicile or residence belongs to and where they are registered in the permanent electoral list (Romanian citizens voters) or in the copy of the additional electoral list (voters who are European Union citizens).

According to the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC), the voter who, by September 4 at the latest, has established his/her residence at an address other than his/her home address and has requested registration in the Electoral Register with the residence address votes only at the polling station assigned to the street where he/she has the residence mentioned in the identity document and will be registered in the supplementary electoral list, if he/she has not requested the registration in the permanent electoral lists with the residence address and goes to the polling station to which the residence address is assigned.

In Sunday’s election, Romanian citizens exercise their right to vote on the basis of one of the following identity documents: identity card, electronic identity card, provisional identity card, identity card or diplomatic passport, electronic diplomatic passport, service passport or the electronic service passport, and in the case of students from military schools – the military service card. The documents must be valid on voting day.

The voter who holds an identity card whose validity term would have expired between March 1 and September 27 can exercise his/her right to vote based on it, established the Central Electoral Bureau.

Citizens who go to the polls on Sunday must apply the “Voted” stamp in the quadrangle that includes the list of candidates or the name of the candidate for whom they are voting.

Each voter will receive four ballots: one for the mayor, one for the local council, one for the county council and one for the president of the county council. In Bucharest, each voter will receive four ballots: one for the mayor of the sector, one for the local council of the sector, one for the mayor general of the municipality of Bucharest and one for the General Council.

Special ballot box, used by observing sanitary measures

Voters who cannot go to the polling station due to illness or disability, those who are hospitalized or serving a prison sentence may apply to vote on Sunday at local elections with special ballot box, under certain conditions.

The mobile ballot box can also be used for those infected with SARS-CoV-2, but it will reach firstly the people who are not sick with COVID-19, and then those who are quarantined or isolated at home.

*** Voters who cannot travel to the polling station due to illness or disability may submit applications for the exercise of the right to vote through the special ballot box if they have their domicile or residence in the locality or sector of Bucharest where the polling station is located.

The application is submitted only at the polling station where the building where the special ballot box is requested is distributed, before the vote – September 26, between 18:00 – 20:00, except for the cases where the cause of illness or disability occurs subsequently.

The application can be submitted through any person, must be formulated in writing, typewritten or handwritten, must be dated and signed by the voter requesting the special ballot box and must include: name, surname, personal numerical code, domicile or residence, series and the number of the identity document, shows the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).

In order to verify the condition that the voters cannot go to the polling station due to illness or disability, the chairperson of the polling station will examine any medical documents or other official documents, attached in copy to the application to exercise the right to vote by special ballot box, from which it should result that the respective persons cannot go to the polling station; from the content of the received documents it must be possible to establish the lack of the possibility of self-movement of the voter, not being necessary that they expressly include the phrase “non-transportable person”.

The chairperson of the polling station will order the formation of a team composed of at least two members of the electoral bureau, who will, on the day of the vote, go with the special ballot box.

*** Voters hospitalized in a public or private health unit, care home for the elderly or other such public or private social establishments may request the exercise of the right to vote through the special ballot box, only if they have their domicile or residence in the locality or, in the case of the municipality of Bucharest, in the sector within which the respective unit is located.

If it is requested to exercise the right to vote through the special ballot box of more than 200 hospitalized persons, the heads of the units ensure the submission of voting requests through the special ballot box before the vote, between 18:00 – 20:00, at the polling stations the locality or sector in which the respective unit is located, established by decision of the electoral bureau of communal, city, municipal or sector constituency of Bucharest within the radius of which is the building where they are hospitalized, reads a BEC decision.

On the day of voting, the leaders of the respective units allow the access of the team of the electoral bureau of the polling station, which travels with the special ballot box.

*** Persons detained on the basis of a pre-trial detention warrant or persons serving a prison sentence but who have not lost their electoral rights and who have their domicile or residence in the administrative-territorial unit within which the penitentiary or place is located and in the case of the municipality of Bucharest in the sector within which the penitentiary or place of detention is located, will vote by means of a special ballot box.

Requests to vote by special ballot box will be made in writing and will be dated and signed in handwriting; they will be submitted to the directors of the penitentiaries or places of detention, at the latest the day before the voting, at 12:00.

If more than 200 detainees require to vote in a penitentiary through a special ballot box, the requests to vote through the special ballot box may be submitted to several polling stations in the locality where the penitentiary is located, established by decision of the constituency electoral bureau.

In order to exercise the right to vote, the director of the penitentiary or place of detention, as the case may be, temporarily issues to the persons concerned, only for the exercise of the right to vote, the act or identity document in the individual file.

On the day of the voting, the director of the penitentiary or of the place of detention will allow the access of the team of the electoral bureau of the polling station, which travels with the special ballot box; the voting operation will take place in a certain arranged space, which must benefit from minimum equipment to ensure the secrecy of the vote.

* The persons under house arrest also exercise their right to vote through the special ballot box, insofar as they request this method of voting, if they have their domicile or residence in the administrative-territorial unit within which the measure is served, and in the case of Bucharest, in the sector within which the measure is being served.

The presidents of the electoral bureaus of the polling stations will order the necessary measures, so that at the end of the voting – 21:00 – the special ballot box will be in the polling station.

*** On voting day, the team carrying the special ballot box will firstly go to the addresses of applicants for causes other than COVID-19, to non-COVID health units, to medical and social units, care homes, penitentiaries and detention centers.

The team carrying the special ballot box will travel to the COVID-19 health units and to the addresses of the isolated and quarantined persons only after ensuring the exercise of the right to vote by the other voters.

The members of the electoral bureaus of the polling stations and the security guards accompanying the ballot box must wear masks and gloves that must be replaced or disinfected with an alcohol-based disinfectant solution when leaving each room.

They will not enter the house where the voter is and will complete all the formalities upon entering it, ensuring a distance of at least one meter from the voter.

The voter who votes by means of the special ballot box and the other persons present in the precinct will be required to wear a mask.

The voter will disinfect his/her hands before taking the ballot papers and the stamp with the word “Voted”, will briefly remove his/her mask to be identified and will reposition his/her mask covering his/her nose and mouth.

He/she will sign the electoral list using his personal pen whenever possible.

The stamp with the word “Voted” and, if applicable, the pen used by the voter is disinfected after voting by one of the team members carrying the special ballot box by spraying/wiping with disinfectant solution or by wipes with alcohol-base disinfectant.

In the case of persons hospitalized in sanitary units, the vote with a special ballot box will be ensured with the implementation of specific measures. The protective equipment for the members of the polling stations stations and the security staff accompanying the special ballot box will be provided by the health unit, in accordance with the equipment level corresponding to the respective polling station. All protective materials used will be placed in a dedicated bag.

*** A special case of the exercise of the right to vote is represented by the president and the members of the electoral bureaus of the polling stations, as well as the auxiliary technical staff and the staff in charge of maintaining order. According to the Central Electoral Bureau, they vote at the polling station where they perform their duties, if they reside in the administrative-territorial unit, and in the case of Bucharest, if they reside in the sector for which they vote at the polling station, being registered in additional election list.

AEP: Monitoring programme for local elections; representatives of diplomatic missions visit Bucharest polling stations

The Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) informs that it is organizing an election monitoring programme for the local elections, with international participation, which will take place exclusively on the day of the elections on 27 September.

According to a press release sent to AGERPRES on Sunday, the representatives of the diplomatic missions, accompanied by representatives from the AEP, will visit several polling stations in Bucharest, at various times of the day, including at the opening and closing of the polls.

AEP states that due to restrictions on international transport and taking into account the list of states in the red zone of COVID-19 infection, invitations to participate in this programme were sent only to foreign embassies in Romania and international organizations that have regional offices in our country.

The Authority mentions that ambassadors and diplomatic officials from France, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Thailand, Tunisia, Canada, Turkey, Hungary, Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia have responded to the invitation, as well as a representative from the International Organization of the Francophonie.

AEP has taken all measures to comply with public health rules, both to prevent infection of participants and the people with whom they will interact during the election programme, the source said. e in the sector for which they vote at the polling station, being registered in the additional electoral list.

BEC – voter’s turnout: 38.17 pct of voters came to the polling stations until 18:00

The national turnout for the local elections was clocked in on Sunday, at 18:00 hrs, at 38.17 pct, according to data announced by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).

In the urban environment, the presence at the polls was of 17.31 pct, while in the rural environment it stood at 20.86 pct.

According to BEC, in Bucharest 29 pct of voters cast their ballots.

In District 1 33.79 pct of registered voters turned out to the polls, in District 2 – 29.88 pct, District 3 – 24.16 pct, District 4 – 29.62 pct, District 5 – 30.02 pct, District 6 – 30.35 pct.

The highest turnout at the polls has been recorded in the counties of Olt – 48.74 pct, Giurgiu – 48.54 pct, and Teleorman – 48.07 pct, and the lowest was in Bucharest – 29 pct, Iasi – 31.69 pct, Vaslui – 32.02 pct.

MAI’s Dajbog: 703 complaints regarding illegal activities that regard the electoral process recorder, 255 were unconfirmed

A number of 703 complaints regarding illegal activities that regard the electoral process were recorded since the start of the voting process, 255 of them being unconfirmed, announced, on Sunday, the spokesperson of the Internal Affairs Ministry (MAI), Monica Dajbog.

“Since the start of the voting process, at the level of the entire country, there were 703 complaints filed regarding illegal activities that regard the electoral process. 255 were unconfirmed, while 242 are still being investigated,” said Monica Dajbog, at the MAI headquarters.

According to her, 133 felonies have been noted with 102 persons being under investigation.

Furthermore, Dajbog said that 137 misdemeanors were noted, 88 fines being issued, worth 122,000 RON, as well as 47 written warnings.

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