Inspection Uncovers Suspiciously Large Number of Extra Stamps for Bulgarian Electoral Commissions
While the scandal with the 350 000 illegally printed ballots discovered hours ahead of the May 12 snap elections is being investigated, an inspection indicated a large number of extra stamps produced for sectional electoral commissions.
The findings of a joint inspection of mediapool.bg and the Open Parliament blog were published Monday.
According to the public procurement deal assigned by Bulgaria's caretaker government, Varna-based company Printmark OOD had to make 13 550 stamps for the sectional electoral commissions, 1030 stamps for the mobile sectional electoral commissions, and 31 wax stamps for the regional electoral commissions.
The public procurement deal worth BGN 39 474, VAT included, was completed within the deadline, according to reports of Printmark as cited by mediapool.bg.
The number of sectional electoral commissions at the May 12 elections was less than 12 000, while the mobile sectional electoral commissions were 84, meaning that there were some 1500 extra stamps for the sectional electoral commissions and some 900 extra stamps for mobile sectional electoral commissions.
Meanwhile, there were no extra stamps made for regional electoral commissions.
Asked to comment on the matter, CEC argued that the extra stamps were necessary because there had been cases of stamps breaking, causing sectional electoral commissions to stop work.
CEC made clear that there were no provisions of the Election Code stipulating the number of extra stamps or what was to be done with them after Election Day.
CEC informed that the extra ballots and extra stamps from the May 12 were still being stored, adding that they would be destroyed as soon as the tensions subsided.
CEC also noted that there had been a lot of signals about irregularities with stamps of sectional electoral commissions, including a stamp being illegally taken out of the section and many cases of uninjured stamps (meaning that there was no way of guaranteeing the uniqueness of the print).
Meanwhile, the investigation of the case of the 350 000 illegally printed ballots discovered during a special police operation at a printing house in Kostinbrod just hours ahead of Election Day continues.
On Saturday, a day before the elections, when by law electoral campaigning is forbidden, prosecutors announced they had raided a printing shop and found 350,000 illegally printed ballots in a printing house owned by a Gerb official.
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