ALTHOUGH the Statistics Office as well as the Central Commission for the Referendum claimed there were no serious problems in tabulating the ballots cast in the September 18 referendum, Markíza TV reported on September 19 that two neighbouring villages in eastern Slovakia, Ratvaj and Uzovce, did not have a voter turnout as high as the Statistics Office had reported.
According to the Statistics Office, Ratvaj’s turnout was 98.96 percent of voters, as 95 of the village’s 96 eligible citizens participated in the vote. But a member of the referendum commission in that village told Markiza that such a percentage was impossible and that only 15 persons from the village had voted.
A similar situation was reported in Uzovce where the Statistics Office stated that there had been a 98.52 percent turnout, 400 of 406 eligible voters. But the mayor of the village said on Markiza TV that the turnout had not exceeded 25 percent.
The head of the Statistics Office, Ľudmila Benkovičová, told a press conference on September 20 that her office double-checked the records and found no mistakes were made by her office. Benkovičová said the Statistics Office cannot be held responsible for whether the records of the district election commissions are correct, adding that the Statistics Office works only with records signed by the district commissions’ members, the SITA newswire reported.
Benkovičová said the responsibility rests with the members of the commissions in the villages who must have made a mistake when filling out the forms about the number who voted. According to the records submitted by the two village commissions, which Benkovičová made available to journalists, 95 ballots were delivered to voters in Ratvaj and even though only 15 of them were actually cast, all 95 of them were considered valid ballots. Similarly in Uzovce, 400 citizens got ballots but only 109 of them actually cast them. Nevertheless, all 400 were reported as valid.
Members of the district commission in Ratvaj subsequently admitted they made a mistake when filling out the forms, SITA reported.
20. Sep 2010 at 16:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff