Bulgaria's Election Officials Play Down Machine Voting Failure

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 26, 2017, Sunday // 14:01
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Election Officials Play Down Machine Voting Failure File photo, BGNES

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has fended off claims that the vote might be contested due to the lack of electronic voting.

CEC spokesperson Aleksandar Andreev has told the Bulgarian National Radio that the development is far from being the most substantial claim one could lodge over the election.

The comments follow a CEC decision to cancel a tender that would have secured voting machines less than a month ahead of the election. Electronic voting has been made mandatory as an option alongside paper ballots under the latest amendments to legislation adopted last year.

In the interview, however, Andreev has enumerated other possible reasons that could turn into "more serious" occasions to dispute the election results.

These include the electoral rolls which have not been cleared for 27 years, giving ground to manipulate the vote.

The fact that Bulgarians living abroad are deprived of the preference voting option - and therefore do not have rights equal with those of Bulgarian nationals at home - is also a possible concern, Andreev has made it clear.

Changes to legislation just ahead of an election are also a reason, in his words.

In the meantime, national Ombudsman Maya Manolova has cited the CEC's decision as "bad example" set by institutions.

Manolova has accused again the CEC of failing to warn on time there are not enough voting machines.

The CEC made the announcement earlier this year, months after the cabinet of Boyko Borisov had stepped down and the country was on slow course to early elections.

It then noted only 500 voting machines were in stock, while at least 12 000 more were needed to make sure there would be one in every polling station.

She has also argued the CEC lost valuable time by firstly ruling there would only be machines in 500 polling stations, which was appealed within days and overturned by a supreme court.

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Tags: electronic voting, voting machines, Central Election Commission, Maya Manolova, Ombudsman, Aleksandar Andreev

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