The Senate plenary meeting adopted on Monday the draft law for amending some normative acts on the voting abroad in the presidential elections.
The document was adopted by 75 votes "in favour" and nine abstentions.
Article 8 of the law was amended so that "as of 1 April of the year when elections are carried out for Romania's President, on term, and until the expiration date of at least 15 days since the starting of the electoral period, the elector who wants to cast a vote abroad in the elections for Romania's President can register with the electoral register as an elector abroad, through an online form on the AEP [the Permanent Electoral Authority] website, in which he/she will fill out their name, surname, personal numeric code, city and state where they wishes to vote, to which he/she adds the scanned copy or the photo of their identity card."
In order to vote by mail, the elector with the domicile or residence abroad should register as an elector by mail, the electors are registered in the permanent electoral rolls abroad, rolls which are drawn up in digital format by the AEP and placed at the disposal of the Electoral Office for the polling stations abroad - article 8 of the law mentions, in the form established by the committee's MPs.
According to Committee President Dorin Badulescu, certain intervals of time have been changed so as to meet the deadlines for the vote by mail.
Another article amended (article 23) regards the fact that the number of the Electoral Office members, if insufficient, can be supplemented with the embassy personnel or with Romanians residing abroad.
"The Electoral Office President of a polling station abroad, if he/she establishes on the day or the previous day of the voting, that the number of the electoral office members is insufficient, can supplement the number of the office members from the embassy personnel or among the Romanians residing abroad, so as to avoid the undersize of the polling stations offices abroad, which seems a very good idea," Badulescu showed.
The Special Committee also decided that the voting abroad be carried out throughout three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"On Sunday, the voting starts at local hour 7:00 and ends at local hour 21:00. By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 7, the voting abroad shall also take place during the Fridays and Saturdays just before the voting day. On Friday, the voting shall start at local hour 12:00 and end at local hour 21:00, and on Saturday, the voting shall open at local hour 7:00 and end at local hour 21:00."
Moreover, in the Diaspora, at 21:00hrs, when the polling stations close, the electors 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 electoral office of the polling stations, appointed by its president, checks at 21:00hrs, whether electors are still waiting outside and establishes the order in which they can access the station.
The MPs also added an amendment, according to which the voters who are in line can exercise their right to vote until 23:59hrs maximum.
The MPs amended Law No.208/2015 regarding the election of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, as well as for the functioning of the AEP and added a new paragraph to article 23, which stipulates that the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) shall send to the AEP, the list of information provided by the competent foreign authorities regarding the number of Romanian citizens with the domicile or residence, or any other registration forms abroad, distributed by states.
The Committee also adopted an amendment which stipulates that in the relations with the other members of the electoral office of the polling station, as well as with the electors and the accredited persons, the member of the electoral office of the polling station is bound to have a behavior based on respect, good faith, fairness and kindness, being forbidden to display indecent behaviors.
Furthermore, the MPs increased the entitlements of the electoral bureaus members from 100 lei to 150 lei and determined that the extra electronic rolls abroad are automatically generated in an electronic format, based on the data recorded in the information system for monitoring the voter turnout and for preventing the illegal vote.
Moreover, the Senate's Judicial Committee's members approved in the meeting for the report on the draft, an amendment according to which, the political parties shall be able to fund presidential elections campaigns out of their own budgets.
"The most important amendment regards the funding of the campaign by the party which proposed the candidate, because the text amended in Law No.334 in 2015 stipulates that only the candidates can fund their electoral campaign, with the money being reimbursed," AEP President Florin Mituletu-Buica underscored.
The Law is organic, with the Senate being the first notified legislative forum.