Today, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections “Pod lupom” submitted 92,000 signatures of BiH citizens to the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the introduction of new technologies in the election process. The citizens’ petition was submitted to the Interdepartmental Working Group for Amendments to the Election Legislation of BiH.
The Coalition “Pod lupom”, together with more than 70 CSOs, organized more than 600 street actions at 79 locations in 74 cities and municipalities throughout BiH. Over the period of two weeks, the signatures of citizens have been actively collected on the streets of BiH, and citizens have been able to sign a petition online even after the above-mentioned period. Citizens of BiH can still sign a petition online at https://peticija.podlupom.org/.
Citizens of BiH supported efforts to prevent election theft and fraud by introducing electronic voter identification and ballot scanning machines. Members of the Coalition “Pod lupom” remind citizens that the introduction of new technologies would restore the trust of citizens in the elections, but also contribute to increasing transparency in the election process. The introduction of ballot scanning machines would prevent electoral fraud, which are reflected in changing voting results through nullification votes for political opponents, voting instead of non-voters or fraudulent addition of personal votes. In addition, a better post-election analysis and the so-called election forensics by the election administration, observers and all participants in the election process would be provided. Depending on the technology used, it would be able to obtain election results just few hours or minutes after closing of the polling stations. Electronic voter identification would prevent abuses related to the identity of the voters, such as voting on behalf of another person, multiple voting and abuse of voting after closing of the polling stations and also it would be possible to monitor voter turnout in real time.
Although new, the above mentioned technologies are not novelty, because they exist in about 50 democratic countries worldwide. Only political will is needed for them to be applied in practice in BiH. The petition is certainly a form of pressure and direct democracy, which cannot be ignored by decision-makers.
Today, we submitted 92,000 reasons to improve the election process in BiH in order to finally have freer and fairer elections in BiH. It is clear that the majority of BiH citizens believe that it is necessary to work on increasing the integrity of the election process, which has been compromised over the years. Part of the solution that would restore the shaken trust of citizens and reduce election theft lies precisely in reducing the influence of the human factor, i.e., the influence of partisan people on the election process, through solutions that include new technologies in elections. – said Dario Jovanović, Project Manager of the Coalition “Pod lupom”.
About 45 days left to provide any improvements pertaining to elections in BiH. The Coalition “Pod lupom” will continue to advocate for the improvement of the election process over the course of the above mentioned period. Election reform cannot be election blackmail, and postponing of elections in BiH must not be an option. The general elections are supposed to be held this year, in accordance with the law.
It is the responsibility of politicians in this country to ensure that binding court rulings will be implemented, and changes that prevent election fraud will be occurred. Disenfranchisement of citizens to vote and be elected in elections would be a defeat for democracy in BiH and potentially lead the country into an even bigger crisis.
Coalition “Pod lupom” invites decision makers at all levels to work on public policies that will provide a better quality of life of citizens of BiH, not to underestimate the democratic progress that has been made so far and to refrain from narratives that set us back 20 years and calls into question security of citizens.