Machine voting has been suspended in 20 sections. This was stated at a briefing by the deputy chairman and spokesperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Rositsa Mateva. She noted that for four of the devices, a decision was made to stop work yesterday. Two of the machines are in Blagoevgrad, as the rules for transportation and security have been violated. Mateva explained that their places were exchanged – for a school and a kindergarten, and a technician from “Siela Norma” transported the machines with a personal car. For two machines in Varna and Dobrich, a decision was made not to vote with them by the Municipal Election Commissions (MEC), as they have not started, she added. Mateva stated that for the remaining 16 machines, various signals were received, such as a problem with flash drives, non-loading software, a problem with the smart card.
Mateva called on the members of the sectional election commissions to put one stamp on the ballots from machine voting, as well as to put two on the paper ballots. She indicated that signals were received that white ballots were being printed and shorter cut from the machine’s printer. Mateva stated that the CEC has sent instructions to the OEC that if the voter’s vote is not established on the printed ballots, he should be given the opportunity to vote a second time in the way he chooses.
To date, seven complaints and five reports have been submitted to the CEC, Mateva pointed out. She noted that several of the signals were related to the preliminary announcement of data and results for the outcome of the vote.
When asked about Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov’s comment regarding the problems with the voting machines, Mateva stated that he did not know the reason why he was unable to vote the first time. What I was told by colleagues who watched the broadcast of the voting, the machine was blocked by the voter before him, Mateva pointed out. She noted that the machine ballot was most likely pulled and that is why she blocked the machine. Mateva pointed out that the problem was fixed by members of the SIC and that a technician of “Siela Norma” was not called, but “the prime minister voted”.
I do not think that on the day before the election and the day before it was proper for the contractor to whom the machine voting was assigned to make comments on the basis of a tender submitted by him, in the clear knowledge that such were the requirements for machine voting and he could to deal with, said Mateva when asked about the position of Ciela Norma.
The conclusions of all laboratories are that the two papers are identical and meet the manufacturer’s requirements, Mateva said. She pointed out that the CEC did research on the paper from the BNB printing house and on the paper provided in previous elections by “Siela Norma”, and the research was sent without the laboratories knowing which sample was from which paper. The research was done at the Institute of pulp and paper and in the laboratory of the Chemical-Technological Metallurgical University, she added.
Regarding the size of the spool, with the amendments to the Election Code at the end of 2022, the printing house of the BNB was assigned to supply the paper for machine voting, Mateva stated. According to her, as early as January, the CEC sent information to the BNB printing house about Smartmatic’s requirements for the type of paper and the size of the spool.
She noted that in response it was stated that in the printing house of the BNB, as well as in Bulgaria, there is no machine that can unroll onto a spool of 12.75 mm (half an inch). That is, the printing house of the BNB, which is designated as the contractor for the delivery of the paper for machine voting in the Election Code, cannot deliver paper unrolled on a half-inch spool, and the CEC cannot designate another contractor. Mateva stated that an unrolling machine has been ordered to be manufactured. As early as June, we received information that for the local elections, such a machine would not be able to be produced and delivered in order to make the unrolling of such a spool.
Mateva stated that the CEC and the BNB printing house had tested how the machines worked with paper wound on a one-inch spool. Such paper has been provided to all three institutions for certification of conformity – the Ministry of e-Government, the Institutes of Standardization and Metrology. The results of the tests at the printing house of the BNB, as well as the results in the reports of the three institutions, show that the paper, even with a one-inch spool, meets the requirements.