Adam Bodnar, the former Ombudsman, said in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 that if there is a situation in which a citizen’s vote – for procedural reasons – is considered invalid, such a citizen “has absolutely the right to sue the Polish state for damages for being deprived of constitutional rights.
Changes in the Electoral Code may lead to the fact that votes in elections transferred abroad will be considered null and void. This will happen if foreign commissions do not send the results to PKW within 24 hours. Ombudsman Marcin Wiącek in his April communiqué signaled that Article 230 § 2 of the Electoral Code “violates the essence of electoral law”.
§ 2. If the appropriate constituency electoral commission fails to obtain the results of voting in polling wards abroad or on Polish sea vessels within 24 hours from the end of the voting referred to in Art. 39 § 6, voting in these circuits shall be deemed not to have taken place. (…)
The provisions concerning the 24-hour deadline for determining the result of elections in precincts abroad have been in existence since 2001, as Art. 164 sec. 2 of the then electoral law to the Sejm and the Senate. The same provision was later introduced into the Electoral Code adopted in 2011, which was pointed out on Monday by the former chairman of the PKW, Wojciech Hermeliński. – This provision for 24 hours, it has been in operation for a long time, but there have never been such problems – he assessed the program “One for One” on TVN24. As he explained, the problem will now result from the fact that the process of counting votes may be extended in the next elections due to other regulations adopted by PiS.
Bodnar: we are depriving one of the most fundamental constitutional rights
He commented on the case in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 Adam Bodnarformer Ombudsman.
He stated that “it is a serious problem that, as a result of these legislative changes, one wants to take away the electoral rights of the Polish community.” He added that in some precinct electoral commissions it may be impossible to count “both the votes cast in the parliamentary elections and the votes probably cast in the referendum” in the required time.
– In general, this institution of recognizing that votes are non-existent, what is it anyway? We deprive, by law and by some administrative difficulties, one of the most basic constitutional rights. That is why I hope that the Sejm will reflect and respond to the amendment prepared by the Senate – he said, referring to the proposal of the upper house of parliament, which assumed extending the time for submitting the results to 48 hours.
– I believe that if such a citizen cast a vote, and then, for procedural reasons, the commission did not manage to do so, and this vote will be considered invalid, then such a citizen has the absolute right to sue the Polish state for compensation for having been deprived of a constitutional right – he said guest of TVN24.
Bodnar’s start as part of the Senate pact. “Everything points to it”
Adam Bodnar was also asked if he would run for the Senate as part of the Senate pact in one of the Warsaw districts. – Everything points to it, although it is not yet official information – he replied.
He assured that in the Senate “he wants to serve the citizens”. – This sounds very lofty, but I deeply believe that my mission is to continue to serve citizens, to care for their rights, but also to use the legal knowledge that I acquired both at the university and through work in social organizations, in the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights . The Senate is a place where this legal knowledge is very much needed – he said.
– At the moment when the democratic opposition would win the elections, which I deeply believe in and of course I support the opposition, I believe that I am the person who should take care of rebuilding the rule of law and repairing everything related to it – said the TVN24 guest.
Main photo source: TVN24