Ink on voting documents already being smeared, PN warns

Handle your voting documents with care or you might end up losing your vote, Beppe Fenech Adami warns electorate 

Beppe Fenech Adami was addressing a press conference at Dar Centrali
Beppe Fenech Adami was addressing a press conference at Dar Centrali

Ink on some voting documents, whose distribution to households commenced today, is already being smeared, PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami warned.

Addressing a press conference, Fenech Adami said that people have already started approaching the PN with defaced voting documents. On some occasions, the ink on the voting documents was reportedly smeared accidentally by the police officers as they were carrying them to distribute to households.

The PN deputy leader advised people to handle their voting documents with care and instantly seek to replace them if the ink on them is even slightly smeared.

He warned that people risk losing their vote if they are in possession of a smudged voting document after 31 May, the deadline to replace defaced documents.

“It is clear that the problem will exacerbate in the coming days,” he said. “This is the state we’re in, we have been forced to advise people to handle their own voting documents with care. These people can’t get anything right, not even something so fundamental/”

Voting documents will this year not be laminated, because the Electoral Commission’s lamination machine was malfunctioning and it didn’t have enough time to acquire a new one.

Fenech Adami pinned the blame for this fiasco on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for announcing a snap election on 3 June.

“Nobody was expecting him to call an election a year early, and his announcement caught the Electoral Commission off guard,” he said. The Electoral Commission, composed of members nominated by the two major political parties, issued a statement late last night confirming that it was "satisfied" with the three security features of voting documents.

However, Fenech Adami said that the Electoral Commission had conducted tests on dummy voting documents during last night’s urgent meeting, which proved that the PN’s warnings were spot on.

As a remedy, the Electoral Commission decided to give party delegates the list of persons eligible to vote, complete with the faces of voters.

Fenech Adami acknowledged this as an “unprecedented move” but warned that it did not solve the crux of the problem.

He denied that the PN’s four representatives on the Electoral Commission had green-lighted the voting documents as containing necessary security measures.

“There was no unanimous decision and I am informed that a vote wasn’t even taken. Besides, while the PN has four representatives, the Labour Party has five.”

He went on to accuse the Labour Party of using the Electoral Commission for its own partisan interests, moving qualified employees in leadership positions to back offices and replacing them with people close to Joseph Muscat. 

"We are now reaping the fruit of the politics of discriminiation that Joseph Muscat had introduced to the Electoral Commission."