“The Volt asks why the criteria were not revised and other options considered, such as voting by mail or the exceptional counting of these votes in the days following the elections, ensuring that each vote was counted”, reads a statement from Volt.
In the note, Volt Portugal share their “disgust with the fact that the Assembly of the Republic, having had more than enough time to do so, has not shown interest in changing an Organic Law that has prevented and will again prevent thousands of voters from exercising their civil and constitutional right to vote”, in reference to Organic Law 3/2020.
Attaching the legislation in question, which establishes for 2021, the exceptional regime of early voting rights for voters in mandatory lockdown and allows voting to citizens who registered on the early voting platform up to seven days before the ballot, the Volt warns of the “possible unconstitutionality” of the order.
According to the party, the legislation prevented about 130,000 voters from exercising their right to vote during the 2021 presidential elections, which took place on 24 January, as 246,000 voters had registered on the early voting platform up to a week before the election, but 379,000 were in lockdown on the date of the elections because they were infected with Covid-19 or because they were “under active surveillance”.
“It is easy to see that more than 130,000 voters will have been prevented from exercising their right to vote”, says the party.
Since the Organic Law has not been changed, the Volt warns that “electors infected or in prophylactic isolation after 19 September will be prevented from exercising their right to vote”, predicting that, at that time, “there should be approximately 75,000 infected people with Covid-19 or in prophylactic isolation” who, for that reason, will not be able to go to the polls.
“At a time when 70 percent of the adult population is vaccinated, it is incomprehensible that, for the second time in the same year, thousands of Portuguese people are denied a fundamental right”, stresses Volt vice-president Mateus Carvalho.
The Volt thus considers it “inadmissible that, since January until today, the Assembly of the Republic has not correct what went wrong in the presidential elections”, and points out that the “consequences” of the Organic Law in question “should have taken any deputy or parliamentary group to propose the necessary changes in order to avoid a similar situation” during the municipal elections.
“However, this did not happen. An opportunity was lost to correct an eventual unconstitutionality caused by a law that ended up preventing the civic exercise of voting for thousands of voters”, points out the party.
The Volt is running in three municipalities during the municipal elections: Lisbon, Porto and Tomar.
Local elections are scheduled for 26 September.