Commission correspondence confirms decision to use updated electoral register for divorce referendum

Electronic correspondence penned by Electoral Commission Secretary General Joseph Calleja confirms the decision to delay the divorce referendum writ’s publication until after that of the updated electoral register on 18 April.

Correspondence seen by MaltaToday from Calleja to other individuals involved in the referendum preparations reads that “the register will be published on Friday 15 April and the President will be advised to issue Writ on Monday 18 April.”

The correspondence is dated Tuesday, 15 March 2011, and its recipients include the respective heads of the Nationalist Party’s and the Labour Party’s electoral offices Henri Darmanin and Louis Gatt.

The email confirms that the Electoral Commission had decided to advise the President to delay the publishing of the writ announcing the date of the referendum, allowing the Electoral Commission to issue the updated electoral register first – meaning that the controversial 2,800 fresh voters would have been able to vote in the divorce referendum.

The document proves that there was agreement by both the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party on the Electoral Commission decision to allow the controversial 2,800 fresh voters, who become eligible to vote between March 2011 and October 2010, to vote in the divorce referendum.

Correspondence seen by MaltaToday confirms that, PN board appointee, party lawyer, and former Lotteries and Gaming Authority chairperson Joe Zammit Maempel had voted in favour of the decision – the only PN representative on the Electoral Commission to do so.

Calleja’s correspondence reads as follows –

“Re referendum:

1. The register will be published on Friday 15 April and the President will be advised to issue Writ on Monday 18 April. Normally, immediately afterwards we start printing the voting documents and then laminate them; this operation will take about 5/6 days and in this particular case it will fall during Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. In order to avoid this period, I suggest that printing of voting documents will be done on Saturday 16 April; cutting at GPP will be done on Sunday 17; and lamination starts on Monday to be finished by Thursday evening latest. Distribution to Police officers will be done after Easter on Monday 25.

2. During a recent meeting with Commissioner of Police, Mr Rizzo stressed the point that in view of the current Libyan situation and others, he might not be able to assign about 300 officers for 10 days to deliver voting documents and recommended that the Commission finds alternative means of delivery. In view of this situation it is suggested that delivery of voting document might be done by Maltapost personnel. These will deliver voting documents from early afternoon onwards completely separate from postal items and on the same basis and procedures that are followed by the Police. Article 46(4) of the General Elections Act specifies that delivery of voting documents may be done by Police Officers or by any other persons appointed for the purpose by the Commission. If this line of action is accepted, Maltapost has to be informed early to make the necessary arrangements.”

Regarding the decision to use the updated electoral register for the divorce referendum on 28 May, Nationalist Electoral Committee representative Joe Zammit Maempel voted ‘yes’ - together with the majority on the Electoral Commission decision .

According to minutes of an Electoral Commission meeting dated 23 March, 2011 seen by MaltaToday, former Lotteries and Gaming Authority chairperson Zammit Maempel, who is also the Nationalist Party’s ‘official’ lawyer whenever court litigation rears its head, was the one PN representative who voted in favour of the decision.

According to the document, the Electoral Commission had decided “that the publication of the writ will still be done after the publishing of the new register - although the parliament resolution has already been published in the Government Gazette on the 22nd of March.”

The document proves that there was agreement by both the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party on the Electoral Commission decision to allow the controversial 2,800 fresh voters, who become eligible to vote between March 2011 and October 2010, to vote in the divorce referendum.

The writ that the minutes refer to is the referendum writ that announces the official date on which the referendum will be held. The decisions refers to how the Electoral Commission agreed to delay the publication of the writ until after the publication of the new electoral register – including the 2,800 new voters – was published.

The email states that “Commission Secretary said that he had legal advice (from Ian Refalo) that we can do this,” the document goes on to say – quashing previous claims by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi that (according to electoral law) it is “impossible” to stall its publication by 18 days and the writ should be published as soon as it is signed by the President.

The issue has degenerated into a squabble between the PL and the PN over which party is responsible for having negated 2,800 new voters from voting.

The minutes, seen by MaltaToday, show that six Electoral Commission members voted in favour of the decision, while the two other PN representatives on the Commission Mario Callus and Ray Zammit voted against. Vanni Ganado, the third PN representative) abstained.

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So Muscat was correct after all. shame on Gonzi and his mud-slugging machine he calls Christian Democrats
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Luke Camilleri
U hekk ghandhu jkun! U ma ghandhux ghal fejn joqghod jitmashan Dr. Gonzi!
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Luke Camilleri
Gonzipn Liars.....naah, they make economies with the truth, they twist the truth, they manipulate the truth,they hide it , even camouflage it with they use of lawyer jargon with no straight Yes or NO answers, they have their meaning for the word in "their" vocabulary, as they do for hyprocrisy, copying, accountability, responsability, pre-eletoral pledges, surcharges, taxes, etc., etc. A case in point that Gonzipn is a nest OF LIARS and HYPOCRITES is Dr. Justine Caruana's vote in parliament where thanks to Realta Producer Brian Hansford, Justine 's vote was heard and confirmed , an audible YES and all the Nationalist MPs lied and stated she voted NO!
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gonziPN is not only a party of liars but also a party of cheats. Cheating on a simple referendum makes only one wonders how gonziPN managed to scrape by in the last elections. What used to be rumours of electoral cheating in all sorts of forms this story simply ascertains that gonziPN do not play fairly andcannot be trusted.
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Every effort should be made to enable the 3000+ new entrants in the electoral register to vote in the referendum.
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Graziella Ciappara
Truth always prevails.
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For the attention of Paul Borg Olivier. Maybe next time he wont be so outdone by Toni Abela on Realta.