The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Nearly 43,000 voting documents uncollected, first election result projections on Sunday at 8am

Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 13:33 Last update: about 2 months ago

Some 43,000 voting documents for the European Parliament elections remained uncollected by Tuesday evening, with the number expected to drop between today and tomorrow, Chief Electoral Commissioner Joseph Church said today.

The number of voting documents still to be distributed for local council elections neared 97,000 on Tuesday evening. Voters can collect their voting documents at the Naxxar counting hall until Thursday at midnight.

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The Electoral Commission would not commit itself on the time when political parties can know, before the official results, of how the parties and candidates fared. But with the sorting process starting at 7am on Sunday, it is possible that the first projections will be some time at 8am, if not slightly before.

This depends on how the sorting proceeds and, with a new electronic system to be used for the first time, it could be that this part of the process takes slightly longer than usual. It also depends on the margin of difference between the major parties.

The Electoral Commission cannot issue the official result of the EP election until 11pm on Sunday, which is a deadline imposed by the European Union since voting in most EU countries – 21 – will take place on Sunday till 11pm.

There are some 360,000 eligible to vote in European Parliament elections, with the number rising to 423,000 for local councils.

The votes of the local council elections will be counted in three batches on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, starting at 2pm.

There are 726 polling stations around Malta and Gozo, each of which will have two ballot boxes, one for the EP and one for local councils.

Electoral Commissioner Louis Fsadni explained to the media the details pertaining to the counting process. Boxes will start arriving in Naxxar after 10pm, when the voting process is over, and they will be opened immediately. The commission has set 7am as the time when the sorting will take place, a process which includes showiong each and every vote to the party agents behind the perspex at the counting hall.

The ballot sheets will be placed in boxes and will later be scanned individually, and each given a unique number by the scanning machine so as to avoid it being counted more than once.

Once the counting process is over, the parties have a maximum of four hours in which to raise complaints about votes, and for these to be settled with the commission. 

At 11pm, the official vote is expected to be made public, and the six MEPs elected known officially.

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