First postal vote hailed as success, but wasn’t without bumps in the road

First postal vote hailed as success, but wasn’t without bumps in the road

Greece’s first foray into postal voting ahead of last Sunday’s elections for European Parliament has been hailed as a success by the Interior Ministry, though takeup was not as big as expected and there appear to have been some problems with the procedure.

According to official figures, 202,515 people registered to vote by mail between mid-February and end-April when the platform for the procedure was open. However, just 152,216 managed to do so successfully, of which 115,571 were in Greece and 36,645 abroad, where takeup was particularly lackluster in an election that was in any case marked by a whopping 58% abstention rate.

The reason for the failed vote is believed to lie in the procedures, which involved not only filling in the ballot brought by registered post to voters’ doors, but also including a signed declaration of participation and a photocopy of their identification cards. Many voters are said to have missed one or more of these steps.

Many more missed the 5 p.m. deadline on the Saturday preceding Sunday’s vote, while others’ ballots had to be scrapped because the envelopes they were in were not intact when they arrived at the polling station.

Some voters may also have decided to go vote in person instead of by post, while others may not have voted at all.

Dozens more citizens put their identification cards or passports into the envelope with their ballot before sending it off by registered mail to one of the 237 polling stations set up to handle the postal vote. Those documents have been handed over to the voters’ nearest police station, where they can go and claim them back.

In the meantime, the ministry will be examining what went wrong and what can be done better as it plans to expand postal voting into the next parliamentary elections.

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