Campaigners for a ‘no‘ vote in Italy‘s December 4 Italian constitutional referendum said Tuesday they are ready to challenge the final result if votes cast by Italians living abroad prove to be decisive. The threat followed repeated media reports that postal voting procedures for more than 4 million Italians registered abroad are at high risk of being rigged. The Foreign Ministry has rejected those reports as speculation. “In voting for Italians abroad, the requirement for secrecy is not fulfilled, and if votes by Italians abroad were to be decisive […] and lead to a ‘yes‘ victory […] we could decide to appeal,” Alessandro Pace, the head of the Comitato per il No, said.
Italians who live abroad receive ballot papers by post. After filling them out, they return them to Italian consulates. Theoretically, someone could intercept the envelopes and cast votes illicitly.
Votes from abroad were decisive in handing a victory to the centre-left in 2006 and 2013 general elections. Politicians from both sides in the referendum campaign have organized trips in Europe and beyond to canvas votes from expatriate Italians.
The proposed reform would reduce veto powers by the upper chamber of parliament and regions, to the benefit of the government. Supporters say this would make Italy more stable, while critics fear a weakening of democratic checks and balances.