The state has the obligation to provide conditions for all its citizens to exercise their right to vote! This is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the laws and the international law. In this address to the public and the State Election Commission, we have the intention of pointing out several issues that are related to just one segment of the work of this institution – the list of disputed voters.Active voter registration was not anticipated with the Electoral Code at the beginning of the reforms, only to have a condition imposed later for the 39.502 disputed voters on the Voters Register to have to verify their presence on that list. And this would have been totally acceptable, provided the state ensured basic conditions for that process to be implemented, to be transparent and for the institutions to show at least minimum respect for the voting rights that belong to all citizens equally. However, equality ended with the equal treatment of the phantom voters with the real voters. The criminal manipulations with the Voters Register hit precisely on the dignity of the citizens and the legality of the processes related to the elections.
The entire process was followed by inconsistencies and comic situations. At the very beginning, the media, citizen journalists and CIVIL’s observers expressed doubts on whether that number included persons for which there are no grounds for them to figure on the list of disputed voters. Moreover, CIVIL revealed many cases of phantom voters who, on the other hand, did not figure on the list of disputed voters.
Even the editor of CIVIL Media ended up on the list of disputed voters, after having reported a phantom voter on his address. The response of the State Election Commission was simple – they placed him on the list of disputed voters, and along with the phantom voters, invited him to verify his legitimacy as a voter.
CIVIL tried to help in various ways, through indications, publication of indicative cases and expertise, as well as through direct contacts. With the exception of a few informal contacts without any epilogue from which something could be learned or concluded, the State Election Commission did not honor CIVIL with a response.
The public needs to know the truth about the revision of the Voters register. The State Election Commission has to present a serious report to the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. We asked the SEC what effect they expect from the campaign for raising public awareness for the registration of citizens who figure on the list of 39.502 disputed voters. The campaign started with a delay and only after it became obvious that the pace of registering was slow. Yet, this was just one part of the problems, for instance, the locations of the regional offices of the Ministry of Justice were not known, some of which were not even functional, according to the reports received in CIVIL.
We asked legitimate questions in terms of why there is a delay in the campaign, and also how much it costs, how it is being implemented, and according to which procedure the campaign was ensured. There are still no replies to these questions.
Furthermore, the public has still not received an answer to the question on where and how the message or call for registration was distributed by the SEC, and whether all of that was accessible to all the communities living in Macedonia.
Even more important are the questions on whether the SEC has used the anticipated legal opportunity to register, add and delete citizens ex officio from the Voters Register, based on data from records of residence and citizenship, other records and through direct checking of citizens?
In that context, whether the SEC requested and, if they did request, whether they received updated records from the competent authorities to check the Voters Register? If they did not receive updated records, what was the reaction of the SEC and how do they asses their work without such data?
These are just some of the questions which the SEC has not answered, and many more questions follow.
We hope that someone in the SEC realizes that there cannot be no answer to these and similar questions. This will have to stop somewhere, and so will the non-transparent and irresponsible functioning of the institutions.
The members of the SEC are not accountable to their party leaders, but rather to the law and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia!
CIVIL has no intention of confronting the most relevant institution that has an obligation to provide conditions for free elections, but it cannot allow itself to be silent to the issues and requirements in terms of the functioning of the institutions in compliance with the Constitution, the laws and the international law.