Being able to formally complain about voting irregularities and to have that complaint sorted out for the election is a common concern shared by many Argentine citizens. Thus, at its Judiciary Workshop, UA’s Law School designed a form to facilitate the reporting and filing of voting right infringement claims.
To gain a better understanding of this system, we would like to share an article published by La Nación newspaper on this issue.
INITIATIVE TO FACILITATE COMPLAINTS
Making it easier to report electoral irregularities is the goal of an initiative launched by Universidad Austral’s Judicial Workshop, which has developed a form for both party monitors and voters to file a legal protection claim in order to report voting right violations.
This initiative intends to complement the means provided this year by the National Electoral Chamber to file this type of complaints, like the dedicated line in the instant messaging application for smartphones WhatsApp.
This tool is contemplated in the Electoral Code’s Section 10, which establishes that voters can file a legal protection claim if their voting rights are infringed. It can be used, for instance, when voters find that ballots are missing in the voting room, or when a voter is not allowed to vote because records show that she has already voted. Thus, when citizens deem it necessary, they can fill out this form and submit it to the head of the table where they have voted.
Voting table heads “will be required to receive the forms and take the necessary steps” at that time or within the next few hours, explained Juan Etcheverry, Philosophy of Law professor and one of the promoters of this initiative. In turn, the form indicates that “officials who fail to act upon these claims will face a three-month to two-year prison term”.
According to Etcheverry, this initiative “intends to avoid delays in claim resolution –or lack thereof”.
Source: La Nación
Download legal protection form here.
WHAT IS THE VOTER’S LEGAL PROTECTION CLAIM, WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
It is a provision explicitly stated in the National Electoral Code that intends to guarantee citizens’ right to vote, forcing officials who receive these claims to take urgent steps to prevent arbitrary voting right infringements.
WHEN CAN IT BE USED?
- Imprisonment during the 24 hours preceding an election without clear evidence of a crime or a warrant issued by a judge.
- Traffic blockage preventing access to voting sites.
- Arbitrary and unjustified suspension of voters’ right to vote.
- Employers’ refusal to grant permission to leave work to vote on an election day.
- A violation of the freedom to choose the candidate of choice.
- Other hurdles for the regular exercise of voters’ right to vote.
WHERE SHOULD THE CLAIM BE SUBMITTED?
- These claims should be filed before a judge of any jurisdiction or purview.
- These claims should be submitted to the head of the corresponding voting table or venue.
HOW ARE THESE CLAIMS FILED?
As it is a sample form, it may be filled out with the voter’s personal data, indicating the cause for her complaint. Two copies should be submitted –one to be kept by the official receiving it and the one signed by the official and kept by the claimant.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE CLAIM TO BE RESOLVED?
Officials are bound to take the necessary, urgent measures at their disposal to guarantee voters’ right to vote.
What happens if an official refuses to receive or process the claim?
Two witnesses must fill out their data in the corresponding section of the form in order to corroborate the claim presentation and the official’s refusal to receive it. Then, the incident must be reported to the electoral court delegate present at the voting venue (school)
WHAT CONSEQUENCES MAY REFUSING TO FILE A CLAIM HAVE?
According to Section 129 of the National Electoral Code, officials who refuse to file a claim or fail to solve it in 48 hours may be sentenced to three months to two years in prison