by Ioanna Kyriakou
The presidential election countdown has begun, with only 48 hours until the first round of voting. As campaign staffers and relevant agencies prepare for the big "battle," "K" gathered all the information that voters will need in order to exercise their right to vote. According to the Election Supervisor, Menelaos Vasileiou, on "SPOR FM 95.0" and the show "DIASPORA NEWS," everything is proceeding as planned. Specifically, the ballot boxes were given to the presiding officers of the polling stations abroad yesterday Thursday (02/02), and the rest of the ballot boxes are scheduled to be given to the presiding officers of the polling stations in Cyprus today Friday (03/02). There are 1,148 polling stations in total, of which 35 are for absentee voters in 12 foreign countries.
When the polls open and how the process works
The polls will open at seven o'clock in the morning, with a break from twelve to one o'clock in the afternoon, and will close at six o'clock in the afternoon to begin the vote counting process. Registered voters may bring their identity card or voter's booklet, which may be expired, to the polls for identification purposes only. They will then be given a ballot paper, and after entering the screen, they will be able to mark a cross or an X in the large rectangle below the candidate's photograph with a blue or black pen. It is critical that voters double-check that the ballot paper provided is stamped with the official election stamp.
According to Vassiliou, the results of the first round of the Presidential Elections will be known around eight to half past eight on Sunday night. He explained that because of the large number of candidates, they have added a half-hour to their estimates, which may result in a slight delay in entering the results into the computer system.
Find out where your polling station is located
Voters can find out where they are voting in three ways. The first is through the internet, on the wtv.elections.moi.gov.cy website, by entering your ID number and date of birth. The second is by mobile text message (SMS) to the number 1199, entering wtv blank ID number blank date of birth e.g. wtv 900500 01/06/1990. The third is through the telephone information service: Pancypriot number: 77772212, Nicosia: 22804348, Limassol: 25806443, Famagusta: 23200935, Larnaca: 24801858, Paphos: 26801143, Ministry: 22867771. It is noted that for the SMS sending service as well as for phone number, the following charges apply: sending a message to 1199: €0.02/message, calling the international number: €0.08/minute.
The General Electoral Commissioner announced a few days ago the polling stations that will be open in 25 cities across 12 countries for voters who wish to exercise their right to vote abroad. After the end of voting, the counting will take place on the spot. The addresses and locations can be found HERE.
The procedure for coronavirus-positive voters
Persons who are coronavirus positive, restricted, and registered on the electoral roll on election day are granted permission to travel exclusively to the polling station where they are registered to vote. They can walk to the polling station or take a private vehicle that they will have exclusive use of for that day, with no other stops for visits. It should be noted that they are not permitted to use public transportation and must always wear a protective mask. In fact, Mr. Vassiliou stated unequivocally that sick people are not permitted to bring their own pens. "We recommend that voters use the pens provided at polling stations because if the color of the pen is not blue or black, the ballot paper will be canceled." He also stated that voters would be given sterile pens, which would be re-sterilized after voting. Curtains will also not be used because they are a source of virus transmission. The detailed protocol can be found HERE.
How will those from the occupied territories vote?
The Commissioner for the Presidency has made all necessary arrangements for voters coming from occupied territories to go to the polling stations where they will vote. Two polling stations have been designated, one at the Acheritou Primary School in Famagusta for the 193 persons from the Famagusta district and one at the Kykkos B Secondary School in Nicosia for those persons from the Kyrenia district. In the case of a refugee person living in the free areas, he or she can contact the Ministry of Interior's Election Service (Tel: 22867640) and request special authorization to vote at any other polling station.
The weather forecast for Election Day
The weekend will be set against a background of rain. It won't be mostly clear, especially on Sunday, according to Cleanthi Nicolaides, director of the Met Office. He clarified that it will rain locally across the nation and said, "An umbrella will do the job." He made it clear, though, that the weather is not anticipated to be so bad that voters won't be able to exercise their right to vote.
Irene Loizidou, the commissioner for personal data protection, and staff members from her office will conduct on-site audits at polling places throughout the course of voting to ensure that the following requirements are being followed:
According to the Council of Ministers Decision No. 34.361 dated 1.11.1990, the electoral roll is made available to parties and candidates at every election for the purposes of transparency and control of the electoral process. The voter's identity card number, birth date, and father's full name shall not be included on the electoral rolls provided to the parties or candidates.
The taking of notes by agents during the election process is legitimate and legal.
Voters' identity card numbers must not be called out during the voting process because doing so increases the chance that they will be revealed to unauthorized parties.
Lists and notes made during the elections must be destroyed afterward if they are to be used for anything other than what they were intended for.
Speaking to "SPOR FM 95.0" and the show "DIASPORA NEWS", Ms. Loozidou expressed confidence that a sufficient number of polling stations will be checked and noted that the telephone number of her office which is 22818456 will be answered directly by her and any deviations from the instructions will be recorded.
When asked if the number of complaints increased in the days leading up to the presidential elections, Ms. Loizidou responded negatively and emphasized that the number is actually quite low compared to the previous elections. Only five complaints, in her estimation, had to do with unsolicited messages that involved promoting candidacy without permission and without the stop sms. The other two complaints were only filed on Friday, and three have already been the subject of investigations.
[This article was translated from its Greek version]