The Republic of Moldova needs alternative voting methods, such as electronic or postal voting. For these to be implemented, a consolidated effort on the part of the public institutions, civil society and the media is needed. If the alternatives methods are not used at the snap parliamentary elections, these should be applied at the subsequent elections. It is important to enable the citizens to exercise the right to vote during several days as in Romania, for example. In such cases, the turnout in elections will be higher, expert Mihai Mogîldea, team leader at the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, stated in IPN’s public debate “Alternative voting methods: benefits and risks, pros and cons”.
According to Mihai Mogîldea, electronic and postal voting will not replace the classical voting method, when the citizens go to polling booths themselves, but will supplement it. There are particular risks in electronic voting and postal voting and this would depend on the integrity of the electoral bodies.
The expert noted postal voting means early voting – the citizen who chooses this option is asked to vote seven days before the elections so that that there is a relevant period of time during which the ballot can reach the responsible authorities Both the costs for e-voting and those for postal voting are covered by the state. In the case of classical voting, the citizens spend a lot of money to reach a polling station, primarily in the case of the diaspora.
“In electronic voting, the security of the collected data needs to be ensured. The citizens should be explained how they can vote and an information campaign on the implementation of alternative voting methods should be conducted. In the case of postal voting, as in the case of e-voting, the citizens should obtain confirmation that their vote reached the given electoral unit,” explained Mihai Mogîldea.
As to the risks of postal voting, he said that in the case of the Republic of Moldova, the role of Moldova’s Post Office, which was allegedly involved in corruption schemes, is important. The risks also depend on the capacity of the responsible institutions to conduct an efficient information campaign on electronic and postal voting. At the initial stage, a low number of citizens will use such voting methods, while postal voting also involves particular costs.
“About 60,000 Moldovans citizens pre-register electronically so as to be able to take part in elections and they are they first that can vote electronically or by mail. The number of Moldovans who would take part in the next elections hasn’t been estimated, but the last few years showed the citizens are increasingly interested in taking part in elections and the number of Moldovans abroad who wanted to vote was higher than the number of ballots printed for the diaspora,” said the expert.
The public debate “Alternative voting methods: benefits and risks, pros and cons” is the 182nd installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is implemented with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.