Bulgaria’s July elections: Machine voting expected in 24 foreign countries

As of May 25, there will be 568 polling stations in 67 foreign countries for Bulgaria’s July early parliamentary elections, the Foreign Ministry said.

According to the analysis of the ministry, voting machines will be used at about 300 of these polling stations, in 24 countries.

A decision by the Central Election Commission in regard to this is awaited.

The short-lived 45th National Assembly voted amendments to the Electoral Code, including that at polling stations where more than 300 voters are registered, there must be machine voting. These amendments, as The Sofia Globe reported on April 29, also make it easier to request opening of a polling station abroad.

On May 20, Bulgarian National Radio reported the Central Election Commission as saying that it estimated that more than 1000 additional voting machines would be needed, and assistance from the state administration and the government would be sought. This estimate covered meeting the legislative requirement in the country and abroad.

The Foreign Ministry said on May 25 that consent had been requested from 128 countries with which Bulgaria has diplomatic relations, for the holding of voting in those countries.

Nineteen countries already have consented: Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, Spain, the Republic of North Macedonia, Turkey, Costa Rica, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Nigeria, Luxembourg, Georgia, Belarus, the Netherlands, Finland, New Zealand and the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic did not want Bulgaria to open polling stations outside the embassy premises, the Foreign Ministry said.

On May 24, the Central Election Commission published a list of embassies and consulates abroad where voting is proposed to be held. Earlier, on May 18, it published a proposal for polling stations abroad, without giving addresses at this stage.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry is working on logistical plans for sending ballot papers to the polling stations abroad as well as, where necessary, the voting machines.

The Foreign Ministry said that the budget for the election process abroad was 6.7 million leva (about 3.42 million euro).

Earlier, it emerged that the largest number of polling stations in a foreign country that will have machine voting would be in the UK, 61 out of 91 polling stations, followed by Turkey, 46 out of 57.

(Screenshot: Bulgarian National Television)

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