Updated | Party delegates 'satisfied with three security features' of voting documents

Voting documents for June election not laminated, printed ink can easily be smeared off • Electoral Commission says party delegates are 'satisfied' with security features

The Electoral Commission, composed of members nominated by the two major political parties, has issued a statement confirming that it was "satisfied" with the three security features of voting documents.

The Commission said that satisfaction was also expressed by party delegates.

The statement was issued fater PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami warned that voting documents for the upcoming election are missing the most basic of security features.

Fenech Adami told a press conference that the voting documents, that will be distributed to households as of tomorrow, are not laminated and have been printed with ink that can easily be smeared or wiped off.

He said that the Electoral Commission had informed political parties a few weeks ago that its lamination machine was malfunctioning and that it was searching for an alternative way to print voting documents. The Commission later said that it didn't have enough time to acquire a new lamination machine and would instead print voting documents on plastic sheets with security features to prevent abuse.

However, the Commission later warned political parties that it had conducted tests on the voting documents, which confirmed that the ink in them could easily be wiped off with a mere dab of water. The Commission has convened an urgent meeting tomorrow, and the PN has formally written to it to use every possible measure to safeguard against voting document abuse.

'People could end up without a vote if even a small number on their ID card gets wiped off by mistake," Fenech Adami said. "As soon as people receive these documents at home, they will realize immediately that there is something wrong with them."

He pinned the blame on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for announcing a snap election on 3 June "to save his own skin".

"Institutions in this country are no longer functioning, starting with the police force, the Attorney General and the MFSA, and now even the Electoral Commission."

But in a reaction issued following an urgent meeting this evening, the Electoral Commission said that the newly-introduced medium of the voting document “has three security features that satisfied both the Commission and the party delegates”.

“The Electoral Commission reassures the public that stricter verification of the voters’ identity shall be undertaken during the poll,” it said in a statement.

It added that “every voter must take care to store this document in a safe place, such that on polling day, one can take it with him to vote at the polling centre indicated on the document. No one would be able to vote without the voting document”.

The Electoral Commission also warned that “any person who is in unlawful possession of any voting document, or who fraudulently forges, counterfeits, defaces, or destroys a voting document shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment”.