OPINION

Chaotic elections

People who had trouble finding the electoral department they will vote in, not to mention the thousands who discovered that they are not listed in any of the voting registers or that they will have to travel to distant polling stations, have all been upset by the changes in the election procedure. What is the point of modernizing the process, they ask, if abolishing the voting papers means having yet more problems? It should be remembered here that the goal of this change is not simply to abolish voting papers but to update election registers, to make sure the municipality where people vote is the municipality in which they live, and to enable those who have come of age to directly exercise their right to vote without having to undergo any additional procedures, and, finally, to progress toward a national municipal register. Reforming the system is not some absurd goal. Rather, it aims to rationalize the entire process. This reminder might well rub salt in the wounds. After all, the legislation that provided for all these significant changes was passed four years ago. It should have been implemented in the 2000 national elections but it was decided that two years was not enough to change the system. Today, four years later, snags are said to be unavoidable while the State and municipalities engage in a mutual blame game. But how many people are convinced by excuses about the costly polling cards that were issued, advertised and distributed only to turn out to be unnecessary? Or about the fact of thousands of people not being registered at all, about the multiple entries of thousands of voters, clearly a result of the failure of municipalities to remove the names of their former residents? Or about the huge inflation of the total number of voters in the supposedly updated voting lists – unless one counts small children? Or about the self-evident fact that thousands of voters were randomly divided up among the various electoral departments and now have to vote miles away from home? The large number and the nature of the problems show that the blame lies with both the State and the local authorities. The current mess is not due to isolated errors but to constant indifference to what may seem a procedural matter but is, in fact, the authorities’ job. Faced with the consequences, citizens have every right to demand an explanation – not in order to take legal action but to be able to judge their leaders.