The Slovenia Times

Those who get Covid after 20 April unable to vote


Ljubljana - Voters who catch coronavirus after 20 April would not be able to vote in the 24 April general election in line with the current legislation, the National Electoral Commission (DVK) told the press on Thursday. The commission asserted that those who fall ill before would receive medical certificates.

The DVK held a press conference today to respond to criticism voiced by an NGO which warned that several thousand voters may be deprived of their right to vote in the election due to Covid rules and the belated deliveries of ballots to voters abroad.

Commenting on the decision that all those who wish to vote from home due to illness must submit a medical certificate, which raised dust after the Medical Chamber decided not to issue such certificates, the DVK said that the Health Ministry had asked health institutions to have doctors write notes.

Such doctors' notes are not envisaged by law, but the DVK said they had been introduced after several abuses occurred in a referendum on the waters act, held in July 2021.

Those who have Covid-19 on election day only need proof of infection, such as the result of a rapid test, and can then request voting per mail by 18 April or for voting at home by 20 April.

Unfortunately, there is no legal grounds to allow for voting of those who fall ill, get injured or have to go to care home, hospital prison etc. in the last few days before the election, and they miss the 20 April deadline for voting from home, DVK head Peter Golob said.

The commission has also faced criticism for deciding that there would be no voting at the embassy in Moscow or voting by mail from Russia.

The DVK decided today the voting will nevertheless take place in Moscow. An authorised representative of the Foreign Ministry will take the ballots and electoral rolls to the Russian capital and bring them back to Slovenia after the election.

Golob also commented on the problems with the sending of ballots to Slovenians living abroad, saying they were caused by legislation which set "unreasonable" deadlines.

The ballots must contain lists of candidates, so they cannot be sent before the lists are finalised for each individual electoral unit, he noted, urging the Public Administration Ministry to consider changing the general election act in this part.

"We are especially unfortunate with this April general election, because holidays are in between these narrow deadlines and the post offices in many countries do not work on those days," Golob said.

For this reason, local election commissions will accept all ballots from abroad that are sent before 7pm on 24 April and arrive in Slovenia by noon on 3 May, he noted.

The DVK also granted today the accreditation to observe the election to representatives of electoral commissions from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Latvia, Kosovo and Georgia, to representatives of the international NGO West Support Inc. from the US and to a representative of Progressive International.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is also looking into the election process and preparations for the election.

Slovenian and foreign organisations, institutions and associations dealing with elections, human rights protection, integrity or education had until yesterday to file for accreditation to observe the election.

This general election will cost EUR 5.6 million, while the early vote in 2018 cost EUR 4.1 million. The price is higher now because of the epidemic, price hikes and difficulties with post delivery, and because of the situation in Ukraine.


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