The Bulgarian government will provide funds to buy voting machines so that there is one at each polling station at the next elections, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told a Cabinet meeting on February 12.
He added, however, that he was not convinced that this would solve anything.
In 2019, Bulgaria’s Parliament amended the Electoral Code to require the use of 3000 voting machines in last year’s presidential elections, 6000 in the municipal elections, and in National Assembly elections. Ahead of the autumn 2019 municipal elections, the law was amended again, to remove the requirement for the use of machines in that vote.
That followed a Central Electoral Commission (CEC) analysis after the European Parliament elections that the deployment of voting machines – the first time they had been used on a large scale in Bulgaria – had created a number of difficulties.
Bulgaria is scheduled to vote in 2021 in National Assembly elections in the first half of the year and in presidential elections in the autumn.
Borissov said that it would be up to Parliament to decide whether to have both machine voting and voting by paper ballot.
Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, who is administratively in charge of elections on behalf of the executive, said that to him it was nonsense to maintain two parallel voting systems “which makes the elections extremely expensive”.
Donchev said that there would have to be at least 15 000 voting machines, to make provision for spares.
He said that the machines should be manufactured, “as a last resort, bought, but in no case rented”.
(Voting machine used in May 2019 European Parliament elections in Bulgaria. Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television.)