Taking unused ballots from polling stations: €33 fine

A FINE of €33 can be imposed on people who take ballot papers that they do not use in the upcoming general election out of polling stations, the Interior Ministry informed on March 1.

Illustrative stock photo: hiding a ballotIllustrative stock photo: hiding a ballot (Source: Sme)

However, the fine will hardly be enforceable if members of a local election commission fail to see voters carrying ballot papers away.

The voting process is secret, with people using a privacy screen. Voters will then put their chosen ballot paper into an envelope and drop it into a ballot box. They must put unused or incorrectly handled ballot papers into a sealed box that is designed for this purpose. “Otherwise they’ll commit a misdemeanour for which a fine of €33 will be imposed on them,” the ministry warned, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The ministry admits that election commissions are unable to check whether voters have actually taken ballot papers out of polling stations. “Members of local election commissions will be obliged to remind voters of their duty to put unused ballot papers into a special box.” The ministry noted. “They aren’t authorised to check whether voters have removed ballot papers, though.”

A different situation will occur if commission members see voters leaving the polling station with ballot papers in their hands. “Commission members are obliged to remind them of the fact that they are committing a misdemeanour,” the ministry stressed. “If they refuse to comply by putting the ballot papers into the special box, a record must be made of suspicions of committing a misdemeanour. Misdemeanours in these cases will be dealt with by the district office, which can impose a fine of €33.”

The general elections in Slovakia will be held on March 5, with a total of 22 political parties, movements and coalitions running. It will cost the state €10.7 million. 

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