With a firm resolve to address the rising issue of voter abstention in Greece, the government has proposed a bill to introduce postal voting for European elections and national referendums. This move is set to redefine the voting landscape not only within the country but also for overseas voters, eliminating the need to set up election departments abroad. A special electronic portal on gov.gr will facilitate the registration process on a unique postal voting electoral roll, accessible via Taxisnet codes.
Revamping the Voting Process
As part of the new voting regime, the application deadline is slated to be 40 days prior to an election. The upcoming European elections on June 9, 2024, will serve as the inaugural instance of this system, thereby setting the application deadline for April 28, 2024. The Ministry of Interior will shoulder the responsibility of sending election materials free of charge to the recipient, and the vote will be authenticated via mail with a one-time password (OTP).
Pioneering Postal Voting
The voting envelope will be comprehensive, encompassing instructions, a candidate list, a responsible declaration form, and identity proof. The votes are to be dispatched to the collection point by 5 PM the day before the election and will be monitored by a special committee. In a bid to simplify the electoral process, the bill also includes provisions for decluttering electoral rolls and facilitating access to polling stations. The government has also been considerate of the needs of people with disabilities, proposing measures to assist them.
Political Response & Future Prospects
The Greek government is optimistic about achieving broad parliamentary consensus on postal voting and plans to initiate discussions with political parties starting December 11. The bill is projected to be introduced for voting in Parliament in early January. The opposition, however, has responded with caution. KKE (Communist Party of Greece) has expressed outright opposition, demanding procedural guarantees for vote secrecy and safeguards against potential fraud.
In his weekly Facebook post, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underscored the initiative of postal voting and other significant reforms. He envisioned a 21st-century Greece actively shaping developments, confronting longstanding problems, and building resilience as a springboard for the future.