President Urges Election Commission to Help Reduce Invalid Votes

President Urges Election Commission to Help Reduce Invalid Votes

ESD 16:25:31 10-05-2019

President Urges Election Commission
to Help Reduce
Invalid Votes

Sofia, May 10 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev Friday called on the Central Election Commission (CEC) to take measures to reduce the number of invalid votes during the May 26 Bulgarian elections to the European Parliament. At his second meeting with the CEC leadership in connection with the upcoming elections, Radev also stressed the need to guarantee the security of machine voting and personal data.

The President said: "I want to point out the large number of invalid votes usually registered in Bulgarian elections, because they not only raise doubts about the transparency of the election process but practically supplant the choice of Bulgarian voters." He said that he and the CEC leadership considered various measures, including proper recruitment and training of the members of constituency election commissions, an effective awareness raising campaign, and particularly, the use of voting machines which are proof against vote tampering.

CEC Chair Stefka Stoeva said that despite some tension in society, which is normal in the run-up to elections, the forthcoming ballot will be well-organized and fair. Stoeva is glad about the understanding and assistance provided by other organizations involved in the planning and conduct of the elections.

She recalled that the CEC has designated on a random basis 3,000 voting sections where machine voting will be held. Noting that the security of machine voting is of paramount importance, she said: "We believe that certification and auditing will ensure that machine voting is fair."

It turned out that there is no state authority which can certify the voting machines, so the CEC asked the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Sofia University to recommend experts for the job. The experts will start the certification procedure in the coming days. Talks are underway with the Interior Ministry to provide physical security for the machines.

"We believe that invalid votes will be reduced in this way, but after the elections it will also be necessary to conduct an analysis and a review," Stoeva said. IG/VE

Source: Sofia