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17 July, 2024
 
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Concerns rise over potential voting issues in June 9 elections

Potential increase in blank and invalid ballots

Newsroom

As the double election on June 9 approaches, concerns are growing about a potential increase in blank and invalid ballots, as well as significant voter abstention. These issues stem from a local government reform requiring voters to cast between six to ten ballots, a complexity that has frustrated both voters and election participants.

Given the likelihood of confusion among voters—many of whom seek information at the last minute—state and party mechanisms have been diligently working for months to educate the electorate. Efforts to address voter questions about the process continue in the lead-up to election day.

"Elected in white"

A major concern for both political parties and the Ministry of Interior is that voters might only vote for the candidates they recognize, leaving the rest of the ballots blank. This has led to apprehensions about the term "white people," referring to those who submit blank ballots. Additionally, there is a fear that many ballots might be invalidated due to voter confusion, and long queues at polling stations could lead to higher abstention rates, especially given the expected high temperatures on election day.

Voting at two polling stations for ten ballots

High abstention rates are also expected in occupied municipalities and communities, as refugees will need to vote at a second polling station for their place of displacement. For example, a refugee from Omorfita (occupied Nicosia) now living in Latsia will need to vote in ten elections. They will receive six ballots at a polling station in Latsia for various local and European elections and four more at a second polling station for elections in the new municipality of Nicosia.

Frequently asked questions

The Elections Service and party representatives report frequent voter queries about polling stations, ballot colors, and the maximum number of preference crosses they can mark. For instance, in the new municipality of Nicosia, due to the local government reform, current municipalities like Engomi or Agios Dometios will become municipal districts, requiring voters to choose an alderman—a significant change from previous elections.

According to the Elections Service, voters can find information about their designated polling stations, the elections they are eligible to vote in, and the number of preference crosses allowed through several methods:

- Online: By entering ID number and date of birth at wtv.elections.moi.gov.cy or elections.gov.cy.
- Mobile Phone Text Message (SMS): Send a message to 1199 with the format: wtv [space] ID number [space] date of birth (e.g., wtv 1010111 01/06/1990).
- Telephone Information Service:
- Cyprus: 77 77 22 12
- Nicosia: 22804348, 22804295, 22804349, 22804283
- Limassol: 25806454, 25806455, 25806452, 25806444
- Famagusta: 23200935, 23200937, 23200938, 23200922
- Larnaca: 24801870, 24801872, 24801858, 24801868
- Paphos: 26801143, 26801144, 26801148
- Ministry of Interior: 22867640

As the election date draws near, these efforts aim to mitigate confusion and ensure a smooth voting process despite the complexities introduced by the local government reform.

[Summary of Pavlos Neophytos' original story in Greek published in Kathimerini's Cyprus edition]

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