Arnis Cimdars, chairman of Latvia’s Central Electoral Commission (CVK) claimed Wednesday that electronic voting was not secure enough to allow it to be used in Latvian elections – despite the fact that neighboring Estonia has used e-voting successfully since 2005. “There it happens. They accept it,” Cimdars said, noting different mindsets in the two countries. Speaking on LTV’s Rita Panorama morning news show, Cimdars said he thought e-voting would happen “sooner or later” but that debates about its introduction would continue for the foreseeable future. “According to our experts, it is not possible for us with current technology. We have some mental reservations about this method of voting, too… at the moment it is not possible to ensure the anonymity and security of this method of voting, so I don’t think it will happen very soon,” he added.
Roberto Gualtieri said on Tuesday that the vote count for polling stations in the four municipalities in northern Kosovo and Metohija has not begun yet. Gualtieri is chief observer of the EU Election Observation Mission. The election materials are in Priština, and our job is to monitor and analyze the process. In relation to that, the Central Electoral Commission should assess the situation and deliver a decision, Gualtieri said at a press conference. The EU Election Observation Mission condemns the attacks on the three polling stations in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, Gualtieri said, underlining that the attempts at sabotage failed. The EU mission assessed positively the electoral process in Kosovo, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) offered key assistance to the process, despite great challenges, he said.
The Central Electoral Commission, CEC, has abandoned the planned use of new pilot technologies in the June 23 parliamentary elections, after tests revealed problems. The Electoral Code mandated the CEC to pilot two new election technologies for these elections: an electronic voter verification system, EVS, in the district of Tirana, and an electronic counting system in the region of Fier. But according to a CEC report 11 per cent of the identity cards tested could not be read from the machine. Tests with the EVS system in Tirana revealed that the system could not read deteriorated IDs or prevent attempts of multiple voting at different voting centres.
“If elections changed anything they would have them banned”. So read a well-known piece of Sofia graffiti some years ago. Bulgaria’s parliamentary polls on 12 May 2013 seem to confirm the unknown author’s bitter cynicism. The chances are he or she was among the almost half of Bulgaria’s electorate that did not turn up at the voting booths. The low turnout is striking, given that as recently as February, economic hardship and widespread resentment of the political class propelled thousands onto the streets of Sofia, Varna and other big cities voicing demands for a complete overhaul of “the system”. Three months on, it is apathy that prevails, not the will to install fresh faces in parliament. More than one grouping claimed to represent the protesters, but none made it past the 4% threshold. As I wrote in March, Bulgaria isn’t getting its own Beppe Grillo or Alexis Tsipras (see “Bulgaria’s anger, the real source“, 14 March 2013)
Bulgaria: Parallel ballot counting results of Austrian company to be different from those of CEC, says expert | FOCUS
“The Austrian company hired to make a parallel vote counting will naturally give results that are different from those of the Bulgarian Central Electoral Commission (CEC),” said mathematician Professor Mihail Konstantinov with the Information Service, speaking in an interview with the morning programme of bTV. “The protocols of the Sectional Electoral Commission have technical mistakes, which are later on corrected by the Regional Electoral Commission. The Austrian company will work with the uncorrected documents, like the sectional protocol. During the procedure, this sectional protocol is corrected by the Central Electoral Commission, but on a different level.
The first and the second round of Bulgaria’s presidential and local elections were held in compliance with the law, according to Krasimira Medarova, Chair of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC). In a Saturday interview for Darik radio, she confessed that the electoral process had been riddled with difficulties which led to “substantial problems in the processing of the protocols and the announcement of the results”, but nevertheless insisted that no serious irregularities had taken place.
The CEC Chair noted, however, that it was the courts and not CEC which had the final say on contested election results. Medarova was adamant that she had not come across any of the allegedly flawed protocols from Sofia containing signatures of representatives of the Municipal Electoral Commission instead of the respective sectional electoral commissions.
Bulgaria: NGO Head Blames Central Electoral Commission for Election Chaos | Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency
Commenting on the chaos surrounding the October 23 presidential and local elections, Antoaneta Tsoneva, President of the Institute for Public Environment Development (IPED), has said that Bulgaria’s inexperienced election administration is to blame for the situation.
Speaking in an interview for the state-owned Bulgarian National Television (BNT), she noted that, instead of allowing cameras in the Sofia Municipal Electoral Commission (OIC), MPs from ruling party GERB had been granted entry. Tsoneva called the presence of a regional coordinator at the vote counting “a total nonsense.”
“Sectional electoral commissions are trained by municipal electoral commissions, which in turn are instructed by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC). We warned CEC repeatedly that it was running behind schedule with the start of the training of municipal electoral commissions,” the head of the Bulgarian non-governmental organization said.
The protocols and the short-hand notes of Bulgaria’s Central Electoral Commission, CEK, are as secret as the X Files, according to the Bulgarian NGO Institute for Public Environment Development (IRPS). The Chair of IRPS, Antoaneta Tsoneva, says the analogy with the popular US TV series is more than obvious, pointing out the NGO, under the Access to Public Information Act, had requested from CEK the said protocols and notes because it wanted to use them to access the effect of the new Election Code.
CEK, however, sent a letter refusing to provide the documents, which, according to Tsoneva, is a mockery of IRPS and their work.
Bulgaria’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has made it clear it would welcome observers for the presidential and local elections on October 23, 2011, if the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe decides to send any. “We are not afraid of being observed,” one of the CEC spokespersons, Biser Troyanov, stated Wednesday.
The CEC statement came in response of concerns raised Tuesday by the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) whose Deputy Chair Lyutvi Mestan complained that the ruling center-right party GERB, the nationalist party Ataka and the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party had been cooperating in order to eliminate DPS representatives from key positions in the municipal electoral commissions around the country. That is why, the DPS party demanded observers from the OSCE.
A total of 84 political formations have submitted registration papers for Bulgaria’s 2011 local elections scheduled to take place on October 23, 2011, together with the presidential vote. The deadline for applications for registrations with Bulgaria’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) expired Monday at 5 pm.
Ralitsa Negentsova, spokesperson of the CEC, reminded that a total of 88 parties and coalitions registered for the local elections in 2007. While Bulgaria has 6 major parties that are represented in Parliament, and a couple that failed to make it to it, the local elections traditionally feature a wide array of marginal and local parties.