Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court has overturned the limit set by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of no more than 500 voting machines in the country’s March 2017 early parliamentary elections.
The court’s ruling, which is not subject to appeal, was made after an application by members of Radan Kanev’s right-wing New Republic political plaform.
The ruling means that the CEC will have to provide voters in all 12 000 voting sections the option of voting either using a paper ballot or a voting machine.
The CEC had set the limit on the grounds that there was not enough time to provide voting machines for all voting sections.
Applicants Martin Dimitrov and Petar Slavov of the New Republic platform told the court that Bulgarian electoral law obliged the CEC to provide voting machines at each voting section.
Dimitrov said that if left to themselves, the CEC would take 100 years to introduce voting machines at all sections.
After the court announced its ruling, the CEC said that it would comply with it but there were many difficulties to overcome and the commission had yet to discuss the matter.
CEC spokesperson Tsvetozar Tomov said that the difficulties included providing machines for mobile polling stations and polling stations abroad.
About 18 000 voting machines would have to be prepared, one of each voting station and 6000 spares.