The Ministry is creating confusion regarding the voter register – a “secret” decision made regarding voting based on residence and local elections

With less than five weeks until the elections, it is deeply concerning that issues regarding the voter register are becoming increasingly complicated, while the procedures of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government are becoming less transparent and harder to understand. 

In response to the information released by CRTA which states that between December 19, 2023, and March 30, 2024, there was a decrease of 41 thousand voters in the voter register, the Ministry responded on April 12 by claiming that the number of voters in Serbia as a whole decreased by only 24 thousand. Then, after ten days (on April 23, 2024), in the regular quarterly update of the number of voters per units of local self-government in Serbia, MDULS announced that there are 23 thousand more voters in Serbia than there were on December 17 last year.  

We demand that the Ministry, responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the voter register, publicly explain the contradictions in the data it publishes.  

The decision of the Ministry, published in the Instructions for the Implementation of the Law on the Unified Voter Register on April 19, also raises significant doubts. According to this decision, voters will be able to vote in local elections based on their residence if it is within the territory of the same city or municipality where the elections are held. This decision was only published in the Official Gazette.  

This practically means that someone whose domicile is in Grocka will be able to vote for the councilors of the Belgrade City Assembly, for example, in Stari Grad. Residents of Belgrade who register to vote based on their residence will be able to vote for councilors from any municipality regardless of their domicile address, while in the elections for members of the municipal assembly, they will have to vote according to their domicile address.  

Without any explanation and without communication to the public about the changes this implies, this decision only adds to the confusion and raises questions about the intentions for which it was made, especially since it was not subject to parliamentary dialogue on the implementation of ODIHR recommendations.  

Considering the electoral engineering from December 2023, this change significantly complicates the detection of manipulative voter migrations.  

In light of these changes, CRTA urges MDULS to urgently make publicly available data on the voter register more transparent by not only publishing the names and surnames of voters by polling station but also providing information on the name of the parent, full address of the household (including apartment number), and indicating whether the voter is registered in the voter register based on domicile or residence.