Two precincts at the Košice housing project called Lunik IX which is inhabited primarily by Roma citizens were monitored by a three-member delegation of observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the TASR newswire reported, adding that the observers said that no irregularities in the balloting had emerged.
However, TASR wrote that some voters took their unused ballots (only one of the provided 18 ballots is actually used by a voter, according to their choice of party) from the polling room.
“I can’t say what happens outside, as in the position of [election] chairman I am responsible for order in the polling room. I cannot rule out someone taking unused ballots out, but basically I have no means to prevent someone from doing this. Essentially, most of the people throw the unused ballots into the box which is placed here, in the room,” said Matúš Lemeš, the chairman of the District Election Committee at the polling place.
One of the voters at the polling place, Ján, age 45, told TASR that he thinks that some of the votes are bought. “Yes, they buy votes. They offer three euros, some wine. I see them coming down there. There are eighteen ballots, and they must show the spare seventeen in order to prove that they have cast the missing one”, he explained, adding that he came to cast his vote because he said he cannot live normally in this housing project.
“We have no chance here. We have water for one hour daily; we have to live without electricity. Where is the money that flows from the European Union? They do not give the money for Roma,” Ján stated.
Július Horváth also told TASR that he was voting for better conditions. “At least something should be for Slovakia, for the Roma, they should do at least something for those children who go to school, and for those who don’t work there should be jobs,” another voter, Adam Turták, told TASR.
According to voter registration data, there are 3,285 voters registered at the Lunik IX housing project and more than 12 percent had exercised their right to vote up until 11:00.
“We saw a siege in the morning, voters kept coming in waves, and thus they had to queue in front of the polling rooms. By now, the situation has calmed down,” Lemeš told TASR.
12. Jun 2010 at 13:00