Flawed corrections

It is not the first time that efforts by the responsible authorities to overcome the snags which bedevil the election procedure eventually complicate it even further. The Interior Ministry no doubt meant well, deeming that it was time to put an end to an unacceptable situation. More precisely, the ministry decided to use municipal registers as electoral rolls, thereby also updating them – tackling an issue which has remained unresolved for years. In other words, the authorities are making citizens vote where their family is based, while also giving citizens the right to continue voting where they used to, provided they send a written request to transfer their family registration record. Rationalizing the whole procedure was imperative, of course, and its necessity is unquestioned. The current problems were created by the flawed manner by which a correct decision was actually implemented. It is estimated that about 200,000 voters in the Athens municipality (out of a total of 550,000) will face problems because they have been arbitrarily allocated by the competent officials. Citizens who have for decades voted in their neighborhood will be forced to travel to a polling station at the other end of town. A second problem is that an unknown number of citizens risk being excluded from the ballot because, for various reasons, they are not registered on the new electoral rolls. The truth is that the State has repeatedly called on citizens to collect their polling cards. Anyone facing a problem was asked to apply to their municipality by September 26. About 70 thousand citizens did so. Others did not bother. All parties agreed yesterday to give these people another chance. Those who cannot find their name in the new voting registers will be able to get a certificate from the municipality allowing them to take part in the vote. Most of the blame, of course, lies with the responsible authorities which have, once again, acted frivolously and arbitrarily, especially in dividing up voters among the various districts of the capital. On top of perplexing the citizens, this arbitrary allocation also distorts the electoral balance of power between the various municipalities. But it would be an omission not to mention the responsibility of citizens who had the time and opportunity to correct any mistakes.