The information has already begun to be shared earlier in outreach campaigns, but the complete lists with the sections of votes for the 2019 European Elections were only available for consultation two weeks ago, after a reorganization that was made following the elimination of the number voters, and who determined a listing in alphabetical order.
The amendments to the Electoral Law and Electoral Recruitment Law (Organic Law 3/2018 and Law 47/2018), published in August 2018, only now have a test in the field, and despite the high rate of abstention registered until 4 pm, close to 80%, the result is proven with many doubts, some confusion and lost people looking at lists of sections and polling stations, and with the change of places where they habitually voted.
This is more evident in large parishes with more than one polling place and several sections in each of them, such as Massamá and Lumiar, where we directly verified the doubts of voters who had to search their polling stations , being clarified by members of the polling station, designated to help those seeking information.
Not everyone went to the Voter's Portal, or the free SMS, through which they could check where they now go to vote and the section, especially the older ones who wanted someone to guide them on the spot. And we had the opportunity to verify that several people even saw their usual voting place changed, separating families that had voter numbers coming in and that they voted in different places.
Full names posted as advice on voting tables
Even weirder is the publication of full names on lists affixed to the door of the polling places. Instead of the usual numbers (which have ceased to exist), in the attached documents, the Parish Councils will indicate the full names of the first and last voters who vote in each of the sections. And even more with an asterisk indicating if the voter is a Citizen of the European Union, as opposed to a Portuguese citizen.
Complete posting of names may potentially be a violation of the Data Protection Act, as this is a personal data and directly identifies a citizen. Other forms could have been used, such as indicating that in section X people vote for people with proper names from A to AN, for example. (we do not mention names out of respect for voters)
SAPO TEK contacted the National Electoral Commission that referred the responsibilities to the Ministry of Internal Administration, by the Electoral Administration, which deals with the entire electoral process. We also put the same question to the Ministry, which supports the option in the amendment resulting from the change in the legal regime of the Reclassification, and the abolition of the number of voters. "The voters no longer appear on the electoral rolls by the sequential order number of their registration in the parish or post of registration corresponding to their address, passing such order to be made in the alphabetical order of the voters enrolled in each parish or post" , says the MAI response.
By e-mail, it also states that "with regard to the operationalization of the procedures inherent in the voting, establishes article 43, in paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Electoral Law of the Assembly of the Republic, approved by Law no. 14/79, of May 16, in the wording given to it by Organic Law No. 3/2018 of August 17, which "Until the 15th day before the presidents of the Municipal Councils (…) announce, by edicts affixed in the style places, the day, the hour and the places where the polling stations meet and the splits … if they exist place. In the case of a split of polling stations, the notice shall also indicate the citizens who must vote in each assembly. ""
"Thus, if there is a need to effect resolutions, the full names of the first and last citizens that correspond to each table must be included. Terms in which the adopted procedure complies with the legal regulations now in force, in all the electoral acts the names of the voters are, as he said, of the respective edicts, "says the same source.
SAPO TEK also asked the MAI if the National Data Protection Commission was called upon to pronounce on this procedure, namely the complete display of the names that are not included in any of the documents that we consulted, including in the Calendar Map of the electoral operations, of the National Elections Commission, which refers to the publication of the list of members of the bureau, in section 8.10 of the document, and the number of voters, but not their full names.
Electronic vote back to be tested in Évora
Today in Evora is also being tested the electronic vote. The pilot project is carried out in 23 parishes in the 14 municipalities of the Évora district, comprising 136,912 voters registered for the 2019 Europeans. According to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, referred to by the Lusa agency, out of a total of 232 polling stations in the district, 50 of them are electronic. These are voluntary membership and there is a system with redundancy, being the vote made by computer and paper, which is placed in the urn.
Early in the polling station at Colégio Luís Verney, there were no problems recorded for a few minutes, but after the stop to turn it off and on again, everything returned to normal, the source said. The reset only required a suspension of 5 or 6 minutes.
And how did the voters respond? According to the Lusa news agency, even the oldest voters showed good adherence to the electronic vote, saying that it is as easy as going to the ATM, and there are even those who say that this system is safer.
It is recalled that there were other experiences of non-binding electronic voting, namely in the Elections of June 13, 2004 and February 20, 2005, but at the time there were problems related to the privacy of voting and the transparency of the process.