Nicoleta was prevented from VOTING by the local authorities

Bucharest, June 4th 2019. The European Center for the Rights of Children with Disabilities (CEDCD) has filed a penal complaint against the representative of the Town Hall of Curcani, Călărași County, which willfully and provocatively violated the right to vote of a person with severe disabilities, who was unable to go to the voting station.

  On May 25th 2019, around 6 p.m., according to the legal provisions, in order to exercise her vote [1]  in the elections for the European Parliament on May 26th 2019, Nicoleta’s father submitted his request to receive a special ballot box at home.

  The secretary of Curcani Town Hall unjustifiably, consciously and intentionally refused to guarantee the fullfilment of her constitutional right to vote and to take the necessary measures provided by law in order to bring the special ballot box to her home, claiming that Nicoleta is able to come to the voting station by herself and minimizing her condition, despite the fact that she had previously provided the proof of her disability (the degree of severe disability with personal assistant) and the evidence of her motor disability (she has undergone 4 surgeries and now she is wearing prosthesis).

  Throughout the day, the secretary continued to refuse to accept Nicoleta’s request to receive a special ballot box, adopting a hostile attitude towards her parents and ironizing her condition.

  This way, Nicoleta was put in the position of not being able to go to the voting station and she couldn’t exercise her constitutional right to vote on the date of May 26th 2019, because of the actions of the secretary which resulted in the penally proclaimed law- the infringement on the exercise of the electoral rights.

Moreover, the denial of Nicoleta’s request by the secretary of Curcani Town Hall represents a severe form of abuse, the clerk being unable to rule on the merits of the application and not having the right, in the capcity of her public function, to refuse the registration of a citizen’s request.

 

GENERAL SITUATION

  Moreover, we also note the fact that beyond all the aspects notified by the community of people with disabilities from Romania regarding the restricton of the right to vote, the whole electoral process and the objective voting procedure had led to the violation of the constitutional rights of these persons through:

 

  • the lack of accessible campaign information from the political actors;

 

  • poor accessibility or lack of adequate accessibility of voting stations;

 

  • the procedure for requesting the mobile ballot box established by the Central Election Office’s Decision contains provisions that restrict the exercise of the right to vote of persons with disabilities and that raise excessive objective barriers. This way, the people with disabilities/non-displaceable persons, despite the personal limititations for which they needed the mobile ballot box, were mandated to file a written request at the headquarters of the County Election Office, just in the day before the elections, between 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. Moreover, no proactive measure has been taken to adequately inform the public about these limitations.

 

“The way that the European Parliament elections took place reflects the massive lack of concern for the people with disabilities, despite the fact that this community has expressed  interest and the obvious wish to express their votes at this election and has made efforts for this matter. This situation goes beyond the political colours. On May 26th 2019, our organisation has received hundreads of online and phone complaints regarding the different forms of barriers lifted in the matter of voting, and this fact raises a serious alarm signal about the rule of law and democracy. We aren’t reffering just to the idea of acceptance and tolerance, but also to the under-representation and the restriction of the rights of an entire social category. It is extremely important that we don’t forget that the protection of the rights of a social category, which apparently is not our concern, means in fact the protection of democracy”,declares Maria Mădălina TURZA, the president of CEDCD.

 

Contact person:

Madalina TURZA

 

Email: madalina.turza@cedcd.ro

 

Mob: 0737545955

 

Fax: 021/7952465

 

[1] Law no. 33/2007, Art. 7, paragraph (1) For the non-displaceable voters due to illness or disablement, the president of the electoral office of the voting station can approve, upon written request, filed at the latest on the day before the elections, with copies of medical documents or other official documents that attest that those persons are unable to move, with the purpose of receiving a team of at least 2 members from the electoral office who will bring along a special voting box and the materials needed for voting- a stamp with the mention “VOTED” and voting ballots- to the place where the voter resides, in order to vote. Within the radius of a voting station a single special box is used. The special box can be transported just by the electoral office members of the voting station. The special voting box can be moved just in the area allocated to the respective voting station.

 

(2) In the cases provided by paragraph (1) the voting is based on an extract from the additional electoral list. The persons included in the extract from the additional electoral list must be removed from the other lists existing at the station.

 

(3) The dispositions from paragraph (1) and (2) must be properly applied to detained persons, detained on the basis of a preventive arrest warrant or to persons who are executing a sentence of deprivation of liberty, but who have not lost their electoral rights.

 

Decision no. 56D/12.04.2019:

Article 1- (1) The written requests filed by the non-displaceable voters due to illness or disablement, accompanied by copies of medical documents or other official documents attesting that those persons are unable to move, that request the movement of a special voting box, must be filed at the latest on the day before the elections.

 

(2) The request for the special voting box, made by the voter, must be dated and signed by hand writing and must include the name, surname, date of birth, personal identification number, domicile, series and number of the available identity card and the adress where the voter is located.

 

(3) In this regard, the voting stations’ electoral offices will ensure, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on May 25th 2019, the presence at the voting station headquarters, in order to receive the requests for the special voting boxes.

 
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