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Parliamentary elections 2023. Secret, proportional, universal elections? Commissioner for Human Rights Marcin Wiącek responds

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Ombudsman Marcin Wiącek answered questions about “election adjectives” on TVN24. He talked about whether the upcoming parliamentary elections will be – as required by the principles of democracy – secret, proportional and universal.

Professor Marcin Wiącek, Ombudsman, on Tuesday he was a guest of “Piasecki’s Rozmowa” on TVN24. The host of the program asked him, among other things, about the upcoming events elections will comply with democratic voting rules and will be secret, proportional and universal.

Secrecy

Wiącek was asked whether the fact that in order to refuse to collect the card you have to openly tell the commission is a threat to the secrecy of the elections. – In my opinion, the voter may feel uncomfortable in such a situation. Especially considering that the last amendment to the Electoral Code allowed shop stewards to record what is happening at the polling station. The work of the district Electoral Commission can be recorded and the voter may feel uncomfortable because of it, he replied.

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He emphasized that “the role of the state and the role of the law is to provide every citizen with the greatest possible comfort in voting.” – The legal regulations do not optimally provide this comfort at the moment. I believe that this regulation should be changed to enable the voter in such a case to still change his decision about participating in the referendum after collecting the card. At the moment, this is not included in the law – he reminded.

Proportionality

The guest of “Rozmowa Piasecki” also commented on the proportionality of the parliamentary elections. – National Electoral Commission last year, in October, it signaled to the Sejm the need to adjust the number of deputies elected in individual districts to the number of inhabitants, but there was no amendment, Wiącek said.

As it turned out, he added, “this proportionality is disturbed in about half of the constituencies.” – These are deviations of basically one seat, with the exception of the Warsaw II district, the so-called obwarzanek, where, according to the National Electoral Commission, two seats should be added – he said. He admitted that “in a sense, the proportionality of the elections is distorted.” – However, I do not think that these deviations are of such fundamental importance as to say that the elections will not meet the principle of proportionality – noted the Ombudsman.

Commonness

Changes to the Electoral Code may result in votes cast abroad being considered null and void. This will happen if foreign commissions do not send the results to the National Electoral Commission within 24 hours. Wiącek emphasized that “there should not be a provision in the legal system that says that after a certain period of time, voters’ votes are considered null and void.”

– There shouldn’t be such a provision. Of course, it may happen that, for example, a natural disaster occurs in a foreign district and it will not be possible to take these votes into account. But then there should be a body, for example the National Electoral Commission, that could state that there are objective grounds and we cannot simply take these votes into account, he said.

– But it cannot be that, as a result of the actions of the electoral administration and the failure to count the votes within 24 hours, the votes of hundreds or thousands of people who exercised their right to vote will be considered null and void – he emphasized. – Especially since this problem has appeared now, because we are dealing with the introduction of a recent amendment to the Electoral Code, for example the principle that each card should be shown to all members of the commission. Therefore, this vote counting procedure must naturally be prolonged, Wiącek said.

READ MORE: Endangered voices of Poles abroad. Due to changes in the code, they may be considered null and void >>>

Main photo source: Leszek Szymański/PAP



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