Romania’s foreign affairs ministry ponders prolonged ballot period after diaspora voting problems
The Foreign Affairs Ministry will present proposals to change the electoral law after many Romanians living outside of the country could not vote in the recent EU Parliament elections. A longer voting period, of three to seven days, is among the options considered, News.ro reported.
“We will focus on establishing some proposals to change the electoral law because, at this point, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, even by doubling the number of voting sections, cannot undertake its legal obligations. We will present a draft law. It is a proposal for a prolonged anticipated vote, that would allow those living abroad to vote not only on the day of the elections but also three, four, seven days before, so as not to have anyone left without voting,” foreign affairs minister Teodor Meleşcanu said, quoted by News.ro.
The minister explained that this was “the only practical option to eliminate the bureaucratic election process.”
He said that talks were started with the embassies of countries where voting issues were encountered in the May 26 elections in order to analyze the problems and come up with proposals for the future elections.
The minister said no permanent voting lists exist abroad, which means that the data of the voters need to be filled in manually, something which took a while and prolonged the voting time.
“We have exhausted the available resources, human, financial, and space wise. Obviously, we cannot open more than 450 voting sections, we cannot organize the voting in only one day,” Meleşcanu said.
Having the EU Parliament elections overlap with a referendum was the main cause in the delays encountered in the voting process abroad, the minister said. According to him, having three ballots tripled the time one person spent in the voting section, while internet speed was extremely low in some countries. At the same time, many Romanians did not have with them the documents required to vote, he said.
(Photo: Marius Zamarandescu/ Inquam Photos)