Voting documents always counter-checked with Commission’s list of eligible voters

Party delegates and members of the Electoral Commission, nominated by both Labour and the Nationalist parties, ‘unanimously agreed that the security features are to their satisfaction’

Labour’s delegate to the Electoral Commission, Louis Gatt, has sought to quell fears of tampering with the new voting document printed on security paper, saying that all information must always be counter-checked inside polling stations. This list includes the same information on the voting document, including the photograph of the document holder.

Gatt said that both parties had discussed for months the upgrade of the voting document’s security features, which will be printed on Agfa security paper.

He added that all information on the voting document will be counter-checked by polling station agents, who must check the information on the voting document with the list of persons entitled to vote, a booklet that is also printed on security paper.

Flanked by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and Labour MP Michael Falzon, Gatt delivered a press conference late this evening, after 10pm, following claims raised by the PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami that tests carried out on voting documents confirmed that the ink could “be wiped off”.

PN leader Simon Busuttil, whose party has its own representatives on the Electoral Commission, said he will reach out to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to report how voting documents in Malta are missing “basic security features”. He warned of “fraudulent elections” and “tampering with the electoral process”.

Gatt explained that the PN and PL delegates have long been in discussion with the Electoral Commission on how the voting document should be done. 

“The Electoral Commission was carrying out its analysis and options on how to improve the voting document to today’s times,” Gatt said, adding that whilst before voting documents used to be laminated, they’re now printed on security papers.

The Electoral Commission said in a statement this evening that the voting document has “three security features”. The statement, Gatt said, was unanimously approved by all commission members – which means that even PN representatives on the commission have expressed their satisfaction.

Gatt pointed out that Agfa specializes in security paper and also prints bank cards.

“Both PN and Labour delegates have been involved and kept abreast of what the Electoral Commission was doing. We cannot understand this ferocious attack against the Commission,” he said.

He went on to add that, to provide more filtering, assistant electoral commissioners – persons at the polling stations monitoring the process – would be in possession of a booklet known as LOPEV. This booklet includes the list of persons entitled to vote, where AECs compare the details on the voting document to the details on the list.

“If these don’t match, the person holding the document won’t be able to vote,” Gatt said, reminding that it is a criminal act to tamper with voting document.

A copy of the booklet is also given to representatives of political parties who will be able to carry their own verification.

Gatt drove him the message that it would be practically impossible for anyone to try and play around with the voting document without drawing the attention of AECs.

On their part, Owen Bonnici and Michael Falzon accused Beppe Fenech Adami and Simon Busuttil of lying through their teeth.

“We are not here to defend the Electoral Commission but to defend democracy and the institutions which the PN wants to undermine,” Falzon said, adding that it was incredulous that the PN had stooped so low.

Falzon said that both parties are always closely monitoring the arrival of documents, the printing process and the distribution.

“Today’s action by the PN is an attempt against democracy,” he said, reminding that four members of the Electoral Commission were appointed by Busuttil.

“The PN should stop stooping so low and respect the result of the election, whatever it may be.”

Bonnici said both Fenech Adami and Busuttil knew they were lying.

“This is Fenech Adami’s second attempt at trying to undermine the Electoral Commission,” Bonnici said, referring to claims that there had been “an identity cards crisis”. The justice minister said it soon became clear that the whole allegation had been made up.

“No one has the right to destabilize the electoral process,” he added.