The Senate will want to delete from the Electoral Code an article assuming that votes cast abroad that are not counted within 24 hours are considered null and void, informed independent senator Krzysztof Kwiatkowski.
Ombudsman Marcin Wiącek assessed a few days ago that the time limit for counting votes in electoral commissions abroad violates the essence of electoral law. The Commissioner for Human Rights also asked the Marshals of the Sejm and the Senate to amend this provision of the Electoral Code.
As the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights stated in the communiqué, “pursuant to the applicable article 230. paragraph 2 of the Electoral Code, if the relevant district electoral commission does not obtain the results of voting in voting circuits abroad or on Polish sea vessels within 24 hours from the end of voting, voting in these circuits is considered non-existent.” This violates the essence of electoral law and makes the validity and effectiveness of the vote dependent on circumstances beyond the citizen’s control and resulting from problems with the efficiency of the election administration.
Kwiatkowski: The Senate will want to delete this provision
The head of the Senate’s legislative committee, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski from the circle of independent senators, announced at Friday’s press conference that the Senate would propose a legislative initiative in connection with the position of the Commissioner for Human Rights.
– The legislator says to thousands of Polish women and men: everything indicates that we will throw your vote into the trash. This is an unacceptable situation, Kwiatkowski said. He pointed out that the recent changes to the Electoral Code result in extending the time for counting votes. – Sometimes thousands of people vote in precinct electoral commissions abroad, and in some cases even several thousand – noted the senator.
– Bearing this in mind, as well as Article 62 of the Constitution, that a citizen has the right to elect deputies and senators, I wanted to inform you that as the chairman of the legislative committee, I decided to immediately launch the process of changing the law in this regard – announced Kwiatkowski.
He announced that the draft would be sent out for consultation next week and expressed confidence that in May the Senate would adopt it at a plenary session “above political divisions”. – I hope that in the name of respect for Polish women and Poles who feel attached to their homeland, all political forces will adopt these provisions of law – said the senator.
According to him, the draft will most likely assume the deletion of Art. 230. paragraph 2 of the Electoral Code.
“This is an exceptional, extreme situation”
To the attention that there is less than six months before the elections and that the electoral law should not be changed, Kwiatkowski replied that “the constitutional value is the right to choose, and the values related to legislative silence are subordinate values”.
– This is an exceptional, extreme situation. Let me remind you that the Senate pointed to a problem that the Commissioner for Human Rights drew attention to. I do not want to make political judgments as to why such a provision was pushed through. Today, I am calling above political divisions that, in line with the Ombudsman’s position, we should put this catastrophic, let’s call it, error in order immediately – appealed Kwiatkowski.
When asked whether there were any consultations of the Senate with the Sejm and the Sejm majority on this matter, he emphasized: – If it turns out that the Marshal of the Sejm will take a similar initiative, we are ready to suspend our work and wait for the MP’s draft. I don’t think there should be any difference on this. You cannot tell millions of Poles that their votes are invalid.
Main photo source: TVN24