February 20, 2024

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Postal Ballot: How to Vote in Elections from Home

Postal Ballot: How to Vote in Elections from Home

In a fortnight from January 2024, the Bill for postal voting in elections is expected to be put up for a vote in Parliament.

“With the establishment of postal voting for the first time in our country’s history, all real/practical barriers to participation in elections are removed. With a simple, easy, completely unchanging procedure, all Greeks living abroad and living abroad can now vote. Without moving. Without spending money.” Interior Minister Niki Geramios told the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency.

Procedure for voting by post

For both categories, it is necessary to register in the voter list for postal voting, which will be carried out through the electronic portal at gov.gr, which will be opened after the passage of the bill. The voter registers his/her application using Taxisnet codes and fills in the address to which he/she wishes to send the election documents. The mobile phone he declares and his email are also authenticated with a One Time Password (OTP).

The deadline for submitting applications ends 40 days before the election, i.e. for the June 9, 2024 European elections, applications must be submitted no later than April 28, when action is screened.

Till that date, the voter can change the delivery address or any other information as well as cancel his/her application.

The envelope containing the election materials shall be sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs free of charge to the recipient 20 days prior to the election and delivered to the recipient by registered mail or to a person authorized by the recipient only.

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The voter will be notified by email about the mailing of the envelope and a link to view the mailing process.

The election file consists of postal ballot file, voting file, ballot paper, form with instructions and list of candidates and declaration form. All envelopes are embossed on the outside to prevent counterfeiting.

On the ballot paper on the first page, all parties are selected by ticking the box next to the name and symbol of the party to participate in the election. MEP candidates are selected on the second side in a large square with 42 numbered squares (from 1 to 42) corresponding to the total number of candidates for each party. Instead of a cross, the voter circles the number corresponding to each desired candidate (up to four choices) found on the instruction form.

In order for the vote to be counted, it is necessary to complete a responsible declaration that the voter has been registered in the special electoral roll for voting by post. And he cannot vote in person and completion of ballot paper and selection of candidates is done exclusively by him without any other person.

The ballot envelope is sealed with the ballot paper inside, the notice and proof of identity (photo ID or passport or driver’s license) attached. In a return envelope and will ship freeBy post or via partner courier company.

The envelopes must arrive at the postal ballot collection point up to 5 pm before the election and received by a special triumvirate.

Postal ballot sending points may also be located in public or private buildingsIt will be leased for this purpose (eg exhibition space), guarded by the police and monitored by closed circuit television.

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This measure is widely used internationally and Greece is one of the few countries in Europe that does not yet use this method. Especially in Europe, the process has been tested in 21 countries. Except in Iceland, where it applies only to domestic voters, in all others it applies to non-residents. For those within the borders, postal voting has been established in 13 countries, seven of which are unrestricted and the other six subject to conditions. For example, in Ireland and Lithuania, it only applies to those who are armed and those with health reasons, in Spain to those who live far from the polling station, and in the Netherlands to those over 70.

Government proposal to enable voting by post for European elections and national referendums As no polling booths will be set up, it will be an exclusive voting system for overseas voters.

Purification of electoral rolls

The postal vote is one of four parts of the Home Ministry’s bill, which will be entitled “Election of MEPs, Facilitation of Electoral Voting, Removal of Electoral Rolls and Other Provisions”.

The other three areas are the abolition of the electoral roll, the provision of access to polling stations (and other provisions for persons with disabilities) and the provisions for the election of MEPs.

It was deemed necessary to delete the voter lists because they were registered persons who had died abroad and the Greek census had not been updated. Because of this, the abstinence rate increases by 555,000 more registered Greeks over the age of 75 than in the census.

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The bill provides that those born before January 1, 1944 and who have not submitted a tax return in the current tax year or are not declared as connected persons, will be “included in the special category to be abolished” by the end of June 2024. “From the electoral roll. Those of them who are still alive and want to remove the deletion can request it by October 31, 2024 by submitting a statement to the municipality, KEP or consulate or online.

To facilitate access to polling stations, it is planned to create a register of polling stations and polling stations, which will have a complete map of polling centers accessible to people with special needs, where voters can, on their request, vote.

Also, TV news of parties and interviews of political leaders will be broadcast with sign language interpretation.

Finally, the rules for the election of MEPs require, among other things, that the declaration of admissions must be made through the electronic candidate portal, there must be a bar for the return of sitting MPs, admissions must consist of 42 candidates, while the parabolic admission and the candidates’ fees combined are set at 20,000 euros, which is at least 1.5 % charged will return to admission.

Source: APE-ME