site.btaPublic Council Urges Central Election Commission to Reconsider Decision on Ballot Counting
The Central Election Commission (CEC) Public Council issued an opinion on Wednesday which insists that CEC should reconsider its decision taken Monday for after paper ballots and machine-voting ballots are counted, the records for both types of ballots to be entered into the tally sheets together rather than separately.
The Council urges CEC to adopt a template tally sheet of the Section Election Commission (SEC), which includes separately the data from the two data sets - the machine voting and the paper ballot voting.
The opinion notes that CEC's decision is "illogical and destroys public confidence in the election process".
The practice of conjunctural political majorities to change the Election Code according to their notions of temporary election benefits has been, unfortunately, reproduced for years with block voting of CEC members, which gives the impression of following the positions of the political entities that nominated them and is in contradiction with the obvious practical needs of the election process and the status of CEC as an independent state body. The parliamentary discussion that began in the summer of 2022 about restoring the right of citizens to choose between the paper ballot and machine voting has gone through the almost complete dismantling of machine technology to end up with CEC's decision and the impossibility of knowing after April 2 what the voters had preferred, the opinion says.
The Public Council also writes that this decision removes the last possibilities for independent verification of the official results. It creates the conditions for even more errors by SECs in counting paper and machine ballots, for the convenience of making these unintentional or intentional errors invisible when reviewing the SEC tally sheets, the opinion further says.
CEC Public Council Chairperson Tsvetelina Peneva told BTA that the Council can only issue an opinion but not appeal CEC's decision to the Supreme Administrative Court.