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Central Election Commission Prepares for Two-in-one Elections

Central Election Commission (CEC) Spokesperson Rositsa Mateva told the Bulgarian National Radio on Sunday that the CEC is preparing for the two-in-one elections in Bulgaria on June 9. 
She noted that the CEC had been ready with all the documents and papers for the European parliamentary elections for a long time, as it had been known for more than a year that they would be held throughout the European Union between June 6 and 9. On March 15, the CEC announced a public tender for activities related to machine voting. A few days later was announced a public tender for the selection of a contractor for the production of materials for the explanatory campaign, Mateva added.
The CEC is already processing all documents and papers so that when the President issues the decrees on Tuesday, it can immediately start with adopting a timetable, election papers, the first decisions in principle, so that the political entities that will participate in the elections can also start preparing for them, because very soon after that the registrations with the CEC for participation in these two types of elections will start, Mateva explained.
Mateva said that for the first time, Bulgaria will hold two-in-one elections that combine European parliamentary elections and snap national parliamentary elections. 
She said that whenever there are two national elections on the same date, there are challenges. In her words, one challenge in this case is that in both elections voting will include preferences, apart from parties and coalitions. Mateva added that they are hoping for a wide explanatory campaign. One had already been launched for the European Parliament elections, she said, adding that voters who would cast their ballots in the elections had to meet the three-month residency requirement. This means that they must have a registered permanent and current address in Bulgaria or a permanent address in Bulgaria and a current address in another EU member state by March 9.
All adult Bulgarian citizens who are not under arrest or serving a prison sentence can vote in the snap parliamentary elections, Mateva said. She expressed hope that there will be very few citizens in the country who will not be able to vote in the European parliamentary elections and this will be mainly due to the fact that if they have been abroad and have a current address registered there, when they came back to the country they did not make the effort to go and change it. Mateva pointed out that they will be included in the so-called “ban list”, so it will be very important for the district election commissions to check this ban list before allowing voting.
It was decided that there will be two separate lists for the elections, Mateva said.
Outside Bulgaria, in the other EU member states, all Bulgarian citizens who have address registrations will be able to vote, she said. Mateva added that in other countries, only diplomatic and consular missions will be able to vote for MEPs, while in other polling stations, only for the National Assembly. There the CEC will send ballot papers and machines that will be used to vote only for the National Assembly, Mateva said.
The machines make it possible to vote in one, two, three or more types of elections. It will be possible to vote now with these machines, the spokesperson said, adding that the country and the polling stations where voters will be entitled to vote for both types of elections will send such machines, while the other polling stations will send machines only for the national parliamentary elections. Mateva suggested that about 10,000 machines would be enough to vote in these elections. She said the state has 12,837 machines.
Mateva added that currently Ciela Norma have not been announced as the contractor and reminded about the announced tender for the machine voting for the European Parliament. Before Tuesday, the CEC cannot decide to terminate this procurement, the legal fact of the announcement of the two-in-one elections must have occurred, which would give grounds to terminate this procurement and announce a new one, which will ensure the machine voting, namely the installation of the machines and their logistics to the polling stations in the two-in-one elections, Mateva said. According to her, the subject of the contract is changing considerably and it is not possible under the Public Procurement Act to make only an amendment to the announced contract.
Mateva noted that deadlines are pressing because although there is a paragraph in the Electoral Code (EC) that the deadlines under the Public Procurement Act do not apply, the procedure is such that it requires technological time. She pointed out that about one month is needed from the announcement of the order to the conclusion of the contract, and the selection of a contractor and only then does that contractor prepare the machines and software that are provided to the institutions for certification provided under the Electoral Code.
Mateva said that there is no reason to talk to Ciela Norm as the contract they are announcing is a competitive procedure with separate items and for each item, another company can apply.