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Elections. On Tuesday they allowed observers in, but on Thursday they were refused. There is a complaint to the Supreme Court

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There is an ongoing dispute over whether social observers can observe the work of electoral commissions during all their meetings. For example, in Szczecin on Tuesday they were warmly welcomed and offered coffee and water. On Thursday they were no longer allowed in. On that day, explanations were published on the National Electoral Commission’s website, stating that the observers’ rights only apply to the voting day. Social activists filed a complaint to the Supreme Court.

– The director of the Szczecin KBW branch office personally took my jacket and hung it in the closet. We sat with the committee members at a common table. We got water and coffee. Members of the committee answered our questions – Andrzej Maliński, an activist of the Electoral Observatory association, told us on Wednesday (September 30).

The day before, as a social observer on behalf of the Foundation. Krzysztof Skubiszewski, watched – together with a colleague from the Electoral Observatory – the inaugural meeting of the District Electoral Commission in Szczecin.

On Tuesday, observers could not enter the committee meeting in Białystok. Eventually, they were allowed in TVN24

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They allowed me to attend the first meeting, but not the second one

– On Thursday, my colleague from the Electoral Observatory wanted to enter the next meeting, but he was not allowed – he says.

And on Wednesday, Waldemar Gorzycki, director of the Delegation of the National Electoral Office in Szczecin, said in an interview with tvn24.plthat observers will be able to observe the work of the commission. When we called him on Friday, we heard in the secretary’s office that the director was sending us to the headquarters of the National Electoral Commission in Warsaw.

The Chairman of the National Electoral Commission wrote the explanation

On Thursday, the chairman’s explanations were published on the institution’s website NEC, which shows that social observers (as well as shop stewards) can observe the work of the commission only on the day of the vote. It is also said that these issues have not raised any doubts so far and that admitting observers would violate the provisions on the protection of personal data. Because they do not have the right to view the lists of signatures attached to the lists of support presented by individual electoral committees. In addition to signatures, there are also residential addresses and PESEL numbers.

SEE ALSO: What about Poles voting abroad? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet announced the decision on the districts

Marcin Chmielnicki, spokesman for the National Electoral Office, pointed out that yesterday’s explanations of the National Electoral Commission are intended to remind in this case that the provisions of the Electoral Code do not provide for the right for shop stewards and social observers to observe activities of the district electoral commission other than those resulting from article 103b of the Electoral Code.

According to the National Electoral Commission, observers can only watch on voting day

As he raised on Wednesday in an interview with tvn24.pl, article 103b. paragraph 1 point 1 of the Electoral Code states that a shop steward (or in this case a social observer) has the right to be present during all activities of the commission to which he was appointed, but the second point of this paragraph states that he has the right to be present “at the polling station during preparation for voting, voting, determining voting results and preparing the minutes”.

– This means that the shop steward and social observer can participate in the commission’s work only on the day of voting – he noted.

A constitutionalist has a different opinion

Prof. did not agree with this interpretation of the law on Wednesday. UwB dr hab. Andrzej Jackiewicz from the Department of Constitutional Law at the University of Białystok, who said that articles 103b. paragraph 1 point 1 and 103b. paragraph 1 point 2 should be treated separately and not together.

SEE ALSO: Kaczyński “escapes” from Warsaw, the opposition comments. “He’s afraid of getting a beating from Donald Tusk”

– The first one talks about all the activities of the commission, not only those on the day of voting – he explained.

However, when it comes to access to personal data, a social observer should not actually have access to them. But – as he added – the electoral commission should organize its work in such a way as to ensure this.

A complaint was filed with the Supreme Court

Marcin Skubiszewski, president of the Electoral Observatory association, says that on Friday he filed a complaint with the Supreme Court against the letter of the chairman of the National Electoral Commission.

– Anyway, I don’t know what to call this magazine. The title says that these are explanations, but in my opinion they should be treated as guidelines for all chairmen of electoral commissions. I hope that the court will repeal this letter, he says.

Prof. Skotnicki: by the way, we could learn the position of the Supreme Court

The question is, however, whether it is possible to repeal a letter which is not an administrative decision, but, as the spokesman for the National Electoral Commission says, its purpose is only to recall the content of the regulations?

– Of course, you can always file a complaint to the Supreme Court. It is up to the court to decide whether it will accept it – comments Prof. Ph.D. Krzysztof Skotnicki, head of the Department of Administrative Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Łódź.

SEE ALSO: Czaputowicz: these elections may be questioned

He adds that on this occasion we could learn the Supreme Court’s position on the interpretation of the provisions, because their content – as we can see – can be interpreted differently.

– In my opinion, social observers can now be present during all committee meetings, not only at the polling station on voting day – the professor notes.

On Tuesday, social observers were allowed to attend the meetings in Białystok (although after negotiations) and Szczecin. However, in Koszalin they were not allowed to enter, and the police were called in Warsaw. On Thursday, they tried to enter only in Szczecin. With obvious effect.

Main photo source: Buttonholes/Shutterstock

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