Kaczyński calls for vote counting modification ahead of crucial next election

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), Jarosław Kaczyński, argued during a visit to western Poland over the weekend that the counting of the votes at the next election should be carried out in front of cameras.

Kaczyński also called for a modification in how votes are counted.

Votes in Polish elections are counted immediately at the close of polling in the precincts the voters have voted in. They are counted by electoral precinct committees made up of paid volunteers, with all parties able to have observers at the counts.

The whole process is overseen by the State Electoral Commission, which issues official aggregated results before they have to be certified by the courts. 

According to the planned changes, the chairman of the election commission would show each vote to the entire commission and it would record who the vote was for and if the vote was valid.

Currently, after opening the ballot boxes, ballots are often sorted into several stacks and counted by volunteers individually or in small groups. Kaczyński proposes that splitting vote ballots into parts to be counted will not be permitted.

Kaczyński told his audience in Stargard, western Poland, that the coming election will be the most important since 1989 when the Poles voted in a semi-free election emphatically rejecting their communist rulers. This is why, he believes, the election must be properly supervised.

He pointed to the opposition already alleging that the ruling party was planning to commit electoral fraud, but it was the opposition, he argued, who may be planning to do so. He feared there might be attempts to disrupt election counts in order to question the results.

This is why he believes there is a need for some 70,000 observers to supervise the entire process — a tall order given that this figure exceeds the total membership of Law and Justice, or any other political party operating in Poland. 

He promised that the ruling party is ready to introduce legislation in parliament that will make the counting of the votes more transparent; he also called for the process of vote counting to be filmed and the live feed made available for all to see. 

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