A HIGHER number of Slovaks living abroad have exercised their right to choose the country’s next government as 7,913 Slovaks have asked for absentee ballots for the March 10 parliamentary elections compared to only 6,961 citizens who did so for the June 2010 election, Bela Lisáková, spokesperson for Slovenská Pošta, told The Slovak Spectator.
“By February 27, we had 2,577 of the ballot envelopes returned from abroad,” Lisáková stated.
She added that absentee ballots had primarily been sent to the Czech Republic (2,375), Great Britain (1,350) and Germany (703). But Slovaks living in other countries were also interested in voting and Lisáková said ballots were sent to Ireland (394), Belgium (380), the US (339), France (275), Switzerland (253), Austria (219), the Netherlands (216), Italy (132), Spain (122), Canada (118), Luxembourg (114) and Australia (111).
The 2004 Election Act stipulates that Slovak citizens living permanently or temporarily in another country must contact their municipal office 50 days before the parliamentary elections and register to vote by mail. The deadline this year was January 20.
Slovaks who maintain a permanent residence in Slovakia must send their registration request to the municipal office where they have permanent residence and those without a permanent residence in Slovakia must communicate with the special election office in the Petržalka district of Bratislava. That special office received 729 registration applications this year, according to the TASR newswire.
The request for an absentee ballot must include a declaration regarding the permanent residence of the applicant along with a photocopy of the applicant’s passport confirming Slovak citizenship.
The citizen’s municipal office or the special election office in Petržalka registers the voter and sends him or her the documents needed to vote by mail – such as detailed procedural information, the actual ballot and an envelope with the correct return address – at least 35 days before election day (i.e. by February 4 this year).
The voter must return the mail ballot in accordance with the instructions and ensure that the ballot envelope is received in Slovakia on or before the last working day before election day, i.e. by March 9 this year.