Bulgarian expats in Germany and US take election commission to court over polling stations

Written by on March 9, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgarian expats in Germany and US take election commission to court over polling stations

Bulgarian citizens living in Germany and the United States are taking the Central Election Commission (CEC) to the Supreme Administrative Court over the commission not opening polling stations in 13 German cities and two places in the US with Bulgarian communities.

This emerged from the electronic public register of complaints and communications submitted to the CEC, Bulgarian National Radio said on March 9, seventeen days ahead of Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections.

Bulgarian law says that when it comes to voting abroad, there is a limit of 35 on the number of polling stations in non-EU countries, such as the US. German law, meanwhile, has rules regarding polling stations for foreign elections, generally limiting them to diplomatic and consular missions.

The CEC decision on March 4 about polling stations abroad omitted two places in the US: Naples, Florida, and Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey, even though in both these places the statutory number of notifications of intention to vote had been submitted by Bulgarian expatriates.

These two were left off the list because of the limit of 35 polling stations and on the basis of recommendations by the Bulgarian ambassador in Washington DC.

An online petition calling for the opening of a polling station in Egg Harbor Township said that Bulgarians living near Atlantic County, New Jersey, had gathered the necessary number of applications to open a polling station, to be located in the Orthodox Christian church in the city. It said that instead of a polling station being opened there, voting sections would be opened in urban areas in the US that had a much smaller number of applications to vote.

An application to the Supreme Administrative Court from Bulgarians in Germany is against the refusal to open polling stations in 13 German cities where Bulgaria has no diplomatic or consular representation, and against the decision against opening more than one polling stations in the offices of Bulgaria’s honorary consuls in Hamburg, Magdeburg, Münster, Darmstadt and Stuttgart.




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