Not enough data on delays in delivering ballot papers for voting from abroad


Original article (in Slovenian) was published on 29/04/2022

The State Election Commission delivered the first consignment of ballot papers for voting from abroad to the post office 13 days before the election, four days later than in the previous election.

“People seem to receive their ballot papers late as a rule in Slovenia,” Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) president Janez Janša said in a pre-election debate on Pop TV on 22 April, when asked by the presenter whether the party would challenge the legitimacy of the election in the event of irregularities.

In accordance with the National Assembly Election Act, voters who are abroad on the day of the election because they have a temporary residence there can vote by post or at a diplomatic or consular representative office of the Republic of Slovenia. This year, the State Election Commission (DVK) delivered 84,317 ballot papers to the post office, which is 12.4 percent more than in the 2018 parliamentary election. 

We asked DVK for data on when, how many, and to which countries they sent ballot papers for voting from abroad in the last four parliamentary elections. We were told that they had data only for parliamentary elections held this year and in 2018. Post of Slovenia likewise only has data on the number of ballot papers sent from 2018 onwards.

This year, DVK delivered the first 22,264 ballot papers to the post office on 11 April, 13 days before the election. This is four days later than in the 2018 parliamentary election when DVK dispatched the first consignment of ballot papers 17 days before the election.

A comparison of data on voting from abroad also shows that the last consignment of ballot papers was delivered to the post office by DVK only nine days before the election. In 2018, the last consignments for the early election to the National Assembly were dispatched 13 days before the election day, four days earlier.

DVK explained that “problems arose on several levels: there were problems with confirmations of the lists of candidates by the electoral commissions, problems due to negligent work of one of the DVK employees, and problems with international shipments of the voting material with the Post of Slovenia.” They added that more information would be available once the Commission’s director had prepared a report on the sending of the voting material abroad. When this would be, they did not say. 

Meanwhile, Post of Slovenia said in their press release on 20 April that they had “done everything possible to ensure that the ballot papers are delivered as quickly as possible.” Data shows that the Post dispatched all consignments from Slovenia within eight days, the same time period as before the 2018 election.

SDS did not respond to our questions. Janez Janša’s claim that voters voting from abroad receive ballot papers late, as a rule, is unfounded, as there are not enough data to support such a conclusion.