The State Elections Commission (SEC) voted unanimously to approve the report from the cross-referenced checks and statistical analyses of the Voters Register, according to which 316,000 entries (voters) are controversial, suspicious or inconsistent.
Last year, several different methodologies were discussed for filtering the Voters Register, with proposals ranging from conducting active registration of voters to cross-checking of data from 10 different databases. The idea to have field-checks of the Voters Register was never dismissed, but it seems that at the moment it is quite necessary, with results of the cross-referencing that are rather striking and an unpleasant surprise for the public. The SEC report has even exceeded CIVIL’s estimations that were given more than a couple of years ago, saying that there are at least 120,000 controversial entries in the Voters Register.
The option for a complete field-check of the Voters Register existed from the very beginning, which the opposition supported, but instead, a decision has been made at the end of this process for conducting field-checks of only one third of the controversial voters in the Voters Register, namely, only 110,440 controversial entries. According to the decision made by the SEC, there will be additional administrative checks for 62,837 entries, and then there will be field-checks for them only if that will be decided additionally. There will be administrative checks for several other categories as well, such as for the 35,859 deceased voters. The SEC has decided not to have checks for the 124,027 voters whose names do not appear in the databases in the previous nine months, who have probably left the country.
Contrary to the initial impulse with which the SEC justified hopes that finally real clearing of the Voters Register is going to take place, a new shadow has been casted on this process with the decision to do field-checks for just one third of the controversial entries.
The last decision made by SEC regarding the partial field-checks of small proportions, leaves doubt that part of the phantom voters got away from this process, an issue about which CIVIL has been speaking out loud for several years now. Therefore, the SEC needs to reconsider and make a decision that will instill trust in the work of this institution.
CIVIL, once again, emphasizes and demands from the state to ensure maximum respect for the voting rights of the citizens, and to ensure maximum trust in the election process. The state has the obligation to provide all the conditions, through its institutions, for conducting free elections. Having confidence in the Voters Register, is without a doubt, crucial! The state has to cover the costs for the field-checks and it has to provide conditions for all stakeholders to monitor this process.
We demand from the State Election Commission to act, as far as possible, professionally and to provide space and conditions to experts to lead this process. We also hope that the SEC will establish more regular communications with the civil society, which have been involved for quite some time in the monitoring of the electoral processes, and which can offer expertise and other support to relevant institutions.
The SEC has to carry out a field-check that will ensure the trust of all stakeholders, but mostly among the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. We demand accurate field-checks, without pardon and without threats of any kind!