As you know, last week the CEC declared nearly 200,000 signatures for the nomination of Victor Babariko as a presidential candidate to be invalid. We could not accept this decision, so we filed appeals with the electoral commissions. We also published an appeal template so citizens could appeal to their respective commissions on their own.
Some appeals have already been processed. Here are the results of that process and suggestions on what else can be done to help verify and protect your signature.
Here is what electoral commissions say:
- Citizens do not have the right to know whether their signatures have been deemed invalid or why. Only the presidential candidate has the privilege to learn how the candidate registration documents are verified;
- Citizens (including representatives of a presidential candidate) do not have the right to challenge the validity of the protocol drawn up by the district commission, as this document is not officially considered to be a “resolution”.
Viktar Babaryko’s headquarters disagrees with this interpretation of legal norms, invoking the right to appeal (Article 40 of the Constitution), the right to judicial protection (Article 62 of the Constitution), as well as the provisions of the Electoral Code (Articles 13, 37 and 49-1) and the Law “On appeals by citizens” of July 18, 2011.
We believe that every citizen has the right to know what happened to their signature. It should be noted that in order to confirm whether the signature has been recognized as invalid, all the commission needs to do is take a look at the official Protocol, which is drawn up in triplicate and must be available in the district commission, the regional commission, and the Central Commission.
We also believe that the right to judicial protection guaranteed by the Constitution can be invoked in case the rights of citizens have been violated. We believe that an arbitrary denial to review submitted appeals and complaints can be appealed in court after a complaint is sent to a higher-level commission.
So, here is how to get information on the fate of your signature:
- You can submit a request for information about the signature at any time, there are no time limits or deadlines
- Submit a request to learn whether your signature has been deemed invalid (a sample form can be found here)
- File a complaint about the response received with a higher-level commission (a sample form can be found here)
- If the higher-level commission provides no information of substance, or if you have already received a response from the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Republican Referendum, file a claim with the court (a sample form will be prepared in the near future).
Here is how you can appeal decisions (actions) of district commissions:
- File an appeal against the decision of the district commission with a higher-level commission (a sample form can be found here)
- File a complaint about the response received from the higher-level commission with the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Republican Referendum (a sample form can be found here)
- If your complaint has not been officially processed, file a claim with the court (a sample form will be prepared in the near future).