OUR INITIATIVES

#14 EXPAND THE JURISDICTION OF THE ELECTION ADMINISTRATION IN THE FILED OF ELECTORAL RIGHTS PROTECTION

The election administration and other appellate bodies in the process of protecting electoral rights must have jurisdiction over matters such as the right to vote, the Voters’ Register, the correctness of candidacies, compliance with rules during the election campaign, and determining election results (EC I.3.3.d). The appellate body must have the power to annul elections where irregularities may have affected the results, and in the event of annulment, new elections must be held at annulled polling stations (I.3.3.e). The higher electoral commission must also be able to correct or revoke a decision made by a lower authority (I.3.3.i). In order for these standards to be met, it is necessary to undertake the following:

 

a. Expand the possibilities of the electoral commissions and of the Administrative Court to consider the proposed evidence attached to the objection

Change the practice of the electoral commissions and the Administrative Court so that in dealing with citizens’ complaints, as well as in appeals to the Administrative Court, in addition to reviewing the minutes of polling station committees, the electoral commissions and the Administrative Court would investigate the possibility of obtaining other evidence (statements of members of polling stations, accredited observers and, if necessary, official representatives of other institutions). (See article 14 of the Unified Electoral Law.)

 

b. Identify cases where the electoral commissions are allowed to act ex officio

It is necessary to define the conditions in the Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament and the Law on Local Elections when it is possible and justified that electoral commissions act ex officio. Electoral commissions could act ex officio only in the period from the day of calling of the elections until the expiry of the deadline set for the examination of the electoral material and 5 days afterwards. (See article 141 of the Unified Electoral Law.)

 

c. Legally regulate examination of the bags with electoral material

The Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament and the Law on Local Elections should be modified and supplemented with a regulation prescribing that the electoral commission (the REC and a municipal electoral commission/city electoral commission) is authorised to examine the bags with electoral material when severe logic and calculation errors were previously determined in the Minutes on the Work on the polling station committee. (See article 105 of the Unified Electoral Law.)

 

d. Legally impose mandatory repeating of the elections at a polling station whenever there is a discrepancy between the minutes on the work of the polling station committee and the actual state of the electoral material

Supplementing the Law on the Election of Members of the Parliament and the Law on Local Elections towards mandatory repeating of the elections at a polling station when the REC determines that the results from the Minutes on the Work of the Polling Station Committee do not match the actual state of the electoral material. The Instruction for the Conduct of Voting in the 2020 election process envisages cases when elections have to be repeated due to incomplete Minutes of the work of polling stations. However, these cases need to be provided for by law and the electoral commissions should be given the legal authority to decide to repeat the election. (See article 138 of the Unified Electoral Law.)

 

e. Provide for the possibility of applying special evidence gathering procedures for acts against the right to vote in the Criminal Procedure Code

It is necessary to make it easier for the investigative bodies to obtain evidence for the investigative procedure when determining criminal acts related to electoral rights. Inter alia, this can be done in such a way that criminal acts against the right to vote would be included in the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, which refer to the application of special evidence gathering procedure in order to enable competent bodies, i.e. the police and the prosecution to work more efficiently and effectively on identifying the crime and pinpointing the perpetrators.