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Bill on presidential election voting abroad - in for Chamber of Deputies' plenary debate and vote

AEP

The Chamber of Deputies - the decision-making body in this case - is scheduled to debate and vote on Wednesday on the bill amending a set of regulations on voting from abroad in presidential elections.

The bill cleared the Senate on Monday, and on Tuesday the Law Committee adopted a favorable report on the piece of legislation, approving several changes to the Senate version, at the request of the Permanent Electoral Authority.

Thus, broadcasting exit polls before 24:00 hrs - Romania time, of the election day, is forbidden.

Another amendment introduced at the proposal of the opposition's Save Romania Union and the National Liberal Party refers to the fact that the additional electoral rolls abroad shall be put on paper in case of system malfunctions.

"The additional electoral rolls abroad are electronically generated automatically on the basis of the data recorded in the computerised voter turnout monitoring and illegal vote prevention system. In the event that the said system malfunctions, the additional electoral rolls shall be put on paper and include the voter's name, personal identification code and signature," the adopted text reads.

The adopted law provides that "beginning April 1 of the year when presidential elections on term are being held in Romania, and until the expiry of a maximum of 15 days since the start of the electoral period, the voter who wants to cast ballots abroad in the elections for the President of Romania can register with the electoral roll as a voter abroad, via an online form available on the website of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), where they shall fill out their name, surname, personal identification code, city and state where they wish to vote, to which they shall also attach the scanned copy or the photo of their identity document."

In the version designed by the Law Committee's MPs, article 8 of the law provides that in order to vote by mail, the voter with the domicile or residence abroad must register as a voter by mail; the voters are entered in the permanent electoral rolls abroad, which are drawn up in digital format by the AEP and set at the disposal of the Electoral Bureau for the polling stations abroad.

If insufficient, the number of Electoral Bureau members may be supplemented with embassy personnel or Romanians having their domicile abroad.

Voting abroad takes place over three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"On Sunday, voting starts at the local hour 7:00 and ends at local hour 21:00. By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1, voting abroad shall also take place on the Friday and Saturday that precede the voting day. On Friday, voting shall start at local hour 12:00 and ends at the local hour 21:00, and on Saturday, voting starts at the local hour 7:00 and ends at local hour 21:00."

In the diaspora, at the polling stations' closing hour 21:00, the voters who are inside the polling stations, as well as those who are in line can further exercise their right to vote. A member of the polling station's electoral bureau, appointed by the bureau president, checks at 21:00 hrs whether voters are still waiting outside the premises and establishes the order in which they can enter the station. The voters who are waiting in line can exercise their right to vote until 23:59 hrs at the latest.

According to the president of the Permanent Electoral Authority, Florin Mituletu-Buica, the procedure for extending the voting hours until 23:59 at the latest shall also apply for the polling stations in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall send AEP the list with the information provided by the competent foreign authorities on the number of Romanian citizens having their domicile or residence abroad, or who are otherwise registered abroad, in a breakdown by country, the text adopted by the Committee also provides.

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