Servel’s reasons for holding the October elections in two days – La Discusión 2024-04-18 04:41:35

In order to share the reasoning and technical foundations of the two-day voting proposal for the municipal and regional elections on October 27; The Electoral Service (Servel) released a technical minute with the diagnosis of the situation, the different alternatives, and their pros and cons.

Number of candidates and size of the vote

There are four voting cards: governor, mayor, regional councilors and councillors. Two of them, those of regional councilors and councillors, will be very large in size (they will reach a size close to 46 cm by 70 cm). Considering the existing political forces in the country, the ballots may have more than 100 candidates and more than 15 lists, that is, there will be great difficulty in identifying the candidate of the voter’s preference, and even more so in making a decision in the secret chamber. to those voters who do not attend the electoral event determinedly. On the other hand, the voter will be obliged, to correctly close the vote, to make eight folds.

Time to vote

Servel estimates that a voter in the indicated circumstances, and based on previous experiences, should spend about five minutes in the secret chamber. Each table, working extremely hard and without stopping, considering that there are already two secret chambers, could serve the voters at a rate of 2.5 per minute for each one.

The reinstatement of compulsory voting and the implementation of the law to bring locals closer to voters, also called the Georeferencing Law (Law No. 21,385), have boosted electoral participation in the country, increasing from 6,468,909 people who exercised their suffrage in the May 2021 election, equivalent to 43.41% of the then-current registry, to 12,991,322 people in the Constitutional Plebiscite of December 2023, equivalent to 85.03% of the total voters qualified for said instance. The latter implies an average voting per table of 340 voters, 85% of the 400 that each receiving table has. This gives a calculation of the operating time required for each table of 850 minutes, which is equivalent to 14 hours 10 minutes, with the serving tables ending at 11:10 p.m., and not at 6:00 p.m. (they would require five more hours and 10 minutes).

Option 1: Increased voting hours

This measure requires a legislative change, since the closing time of the tables is contemplated at 6:00 p.m. in article 74 of Law No. 18,700. Therefore, the Electoral Service lacks the power to increase voting hours.

“The previous calculations show that the hours should be extended by at least five or six additional hours, reaching 23 or 24 hours to serve voters. It would also be necessary to consider at least two additional hours to carry out the scrutiny, fill out the minutes and certificates, store the votes in the envelopes and close the table and proceed to transmit the data to inform citizens in a timely and transparent manner. , as has been the invariable custom in electoral processes in Chile. The functions could end after 2 in the morning the next day. Therefore, financial compensation for all personnel involved should be considered.

“It seems to us that this alternative is not adequate to solve the problem,” the agency stated.

Option 2: increasing the number of premises

This alternative actually involves increasing the receiving tables, which in turn requires reducing the number of 400 voters they currently have.

“We will consider 200 effective voters from a voting list of 235 voters (85%). Given an estimated participation of 13 million voters, this is 85% of the registry and 200 voters per table, we therefore need 65 thousand tables with 200 effective voters each. In the last plebiscite in December 2023, 39,390 tables operated in the 3,118 voting locations throughout the country. Increasing the number of polling stations to 65,000 would represent a 65% increase, which applied to the number of polling stations would require the number of 5,145 polling stations. This corresponds to a total of 2,027 additional premises. In addition, reducing the number of voters per table also requires a legislative change, since it is set at 400 in article 37 of Law No. 18,556,” the minutes state, adding the need to have more members and staff. .

“For all of the above, this solution is not very feasible, it requires new premises that do not exist, it is very expensive and may not solve the problem,” Servel stated.

Option 3: separate regional elections from municipal elections.

It would consist of maintaining the elections for gores and cores on October 27 and establishing for four following Sundays, that is, November 24, the municipal elections together with the eventual second votes for governors that are set for that date.

“It is a possibility that solves the problem, at the cost of giving certainty of attending two days separated by four weeks. It is tight with three votes, and could generate crowds at the time of greatest voter presence, which is why it does not seem like the first option to us,” Servel stated.

Option 4: hold the vote in two days

It is also an alternative that requires modifying Law No. 18,695 of Municipalities in its article 106, permanently establishing voting on the last Saturday and Sunday of October. (Regional elections are established in their law to be carried out jointly with municipal elections, and therefore do not require modifications).

In addition, it is necessary to establish in Law No. 18,700 a procedure for the custody of the ballot boxes and electoral material between Saturday and Sunday, for which the Servel proposed adopting the same procedure contained in article 160 of the Political Constitution, already applied.

It requires the presence of the Armed Forces on the Thursday before the election and not on the Friday. There is an additional day in your services. “It is important to clarify that the Armed Forces have always guarded the votes and electoral material from Friday to Sunday, spending the night in the voting locations. They are not new to this function, except that now there is an additional night,” the organization stressed.

The Electoral Service considers that this is an option that is feasible to implement, lower cost than the other options, and the best for voters who will be able to choose one of the two days to go to vote. “It has been tested successfully in the May 2021 elections,” they concluded.

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