Even though there have been talks lately about the changes in the electoral process as a result of the High Representative’s decision on the changes and amendments to the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are other novelties that are expected to improve the electoral process in the 2022 General election. Through its implementing acts, the Central Election Commission of BiH has fully or partially adopted eight recommendations of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections “Pod Lupom” concerning the improvements of the electoral process.
- the e-Izbori portal was created; it introduces an additional mechanism for preventing fraud in voting by mail. Applications for voting from abroad are to be submitted only electronically via the e-Izbori portal available on the web page or via telefax. The newly imposed restrictions such as that only one application for voting can come from one e-mail address, that copies of one of the valid BiH identification documents have to be uploaded, that there must be proof of the exact place of residence abroad and that applications cannot be received by mail, significantly reduce space for fraud observed in the previous election cycle.
- Voting booths will face members of the polling station committees and observers. To prevent abuse by a voter during voting, such as the replacement of a ballot paper, photographing, family voting, and the like, CEC BiH provides that the voting booth will face members of the polling station committees and observers.
- A mechanism to prevent abuse of assistance with voting was introduced, and voters will have to prove that they need assistance. Over many years Pod lupom Coalition warned the public and election administration of the problem of the abuse of assistance with voting, family voting, and the so-called professional assistants with voting, and that this should end. Now it has been prescribed that proof of “needed assistance with voting” must be submitted and that the polling station committee should independently assess whether it is evident that a voter needs assistance. Proof that a person is blind or physically disabled is a certificate issued by a responsible institution, whereas the absence of a signature on a personal identification document is proof that a person is illiterate.
- Voting material will be locked and secured by the police on the night before elections until the opening of the polling stations. The Pod lupom coalition advocated that it was necessary to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Election Law of BiH and the implementing acts concerning security of the election material at every poll and that control should be tightened over the delivery of the sensitive election materials to and from the polling stations. The Central Election Commission BiH prescribes in the Handbook on the conduct of the elections in BiH that on the night before the election, voting material will be kept in the locked premises of the polling station and that the police will secure voting material on the night before the opening of the polls.
- Ballot paper must be stamped and signed by the polling station committee member that issued it. To prevent abuse during voting and issuing of ballot papers to voters, ballot papers will be stamped and signed by the polling station committee member that issues the ballot paper. This will ensure that unused ballot papers are without a stamp or signature, while all ballot papers in a ballot box must have both the stamp and the signature because otherwise, they will be invalid. Thus, the purpose of the Coalition’s recommendation concerning the prevention of abuse of unused ballots was partially achieved. The full recommendation was that, after determining the number of the unused ballot papers, and before packing them in the original boxes, the unused ballot papers should be made unusable by cutting off with scissors the lower right and left corners of the ballot paper.
- The public will have insight into a list of members of the polling station committee and the nominating political subject. In the previous election cycles, the names of members of the polling station committees usually carried the code of the political subject rather than the name of the political subject. The new, more precise provision of the Rulebook on the conduct of elections in BiH provides that it will be required to state the name of the political subject and not the code.
- An online platform for the accreditation of Election day observers. The procedure for the accreditation of citizen, nonpartisan observers by the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been simplified by the introduction of the possibility to apply electronically.
- Continuous training of the local election commissions to achieve better efficiency of their performance during the election period through regular training of the municipal and city election commissions, online training platforms, and publicly available documents on websites that clarify dilemmas of the local election commissions about how to proceed in certain situations that have not been explained closely