Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC) called a tender on August 24 to pick a consultant that would carry out a feasibility study for the introduction of machine voting in the country.
The cost of the study is set at 12 500 leva (about 6400 euro) and the deadline for bids is September 10.
The chosen consultant will have to survey the manufacturers and importers of voting machines and provide an estimate for the costs of purchasing or renting at least 12 500 voting machines, as well as costs for logistics, personnel training, maintenance and repair. The consultant would be given two months to carry out the feasibility study from the date a contract is signed.
Despite being required to introduce machine voting for the March 2017 early parliamentary elections, the CEC rejected the sole bid to rent voting machines, saying that it did not meet technical requirements.
Earlier this month, the Sofia administrative court ruled that CEC had to introduce machine voting within a period of six months, although the electoral authority said that it would appeal against the decision.
CEC has tested machine voting on a smaller scale in previous elections, but the introduction of full-scale machine voting presented a number of logistical issues that the electoral authority was not prepared for, reports in Bulgarian media said.
Bulgaria’s electoral code also requires CEC to introduce electronic voting, starting with the European Parliament elections in May 2019, but the electoral authority asked Parliament earlier this year to defer the introduction of electronic voting.
(Screengrab of voting machine from Bulgarian National Television)