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Strange irregularities at Hungary's elections

Citing numerous technical irregularities involving the National Election Office's (NVI) online information system, as well as a four-hour "news blackout" between the close of polls and the release of preliminary election results Sunday night, election expert Zoltán Tóth urged opposition politicians to demand a recount of votes.

In his opinion, some 125,000 votes appear to have simply vanished after 6:30 pm.
Appearing on evening talk-show Egyenesen (Straight), the Democratic Coalition politician called "suspicious" the fact that the NVI's online information system broke down several times over the course of the election day.
Tóth was at a loss to explain how voter participation, projected earlier in the day to reach as high as 70 percent, actually decreased between 6:30 pm (69 percent) and the close of polls half an hour later (66 percent).
According to Tóth, some 11,000 polling stations were required to tabulate the number of votes cast and relay this information electronically to the National Election Office periodically. He says that, while in a few instances the tallies may have been incorrect, by the law of large numbers, districts underreporting voter participation would tend to offset those overreporting it.
He faulted NVI for failing to release information about election results for several hours, saying there is no requirement to wait until the last vote to announce election results. "It was unconstitutional for the National Election Office to withhold information," says the election expert, pointing out that "there is no law that prevents issuing information until the last vote is cast."
He complains that nobody knew what was happening between the close of polls at 7 pm and the announcement of the results at 11 pm. "People had to wait three hours to learn Fidesz had a 2/3rds majority," he noted.
Tóth believes the news blackout was deliberate in order to maximize the impact the news would have on opposition party politicians and their supporters when they learned that Fidesz had won a landslide victory .
He called for voting commissions made up of delegates from all the parties to review the 22,000 protocols prepared in the 11,000 voting precincts. He suggested examiners compare the numbers of invalid votes cast at polling stations where both opposition and government party election observers were present with those of polling stations where only governing party observers were present.
Noting that in some places in Budapest voters queued for hours to vote, Tóth said the National Election Office had done a poor job, and he called on its president, Ilona Pálffy, to resign.
He suspects that local election officials may have invalidated votes cast for opposition candidates in districts where there were no election delegates appointed by the political opposition.
A recount should be conducted by computer, he said. "For the HUF 8 billion spent on the NVI, it should be able to examine the votes with a computer."
With regard to the electoral results, Tóth asserted that the electoral system introduced in 2014 made it possible for a party receiving less than 50 percent of the vote to gain a two-thirds parliamentary majority. He pointed out that in the latest general election, the practice of "winner compensation" effectively awarded Fidesz-KDNP an additional 1.2 million votes for the purpose of calculating the distribution of parliamentary mandates, thereby diluting the votes cast for smaller parties.
He pointed out that "winner compensation," whereby superfluous votes cast for winning candidates are added to the candidate's party list for the purpose of allocating seats in parliament, was "socially unfair" in that it awarded the Fidesz-KDNP alliance 67.34 percent of the mandates despite the governing political alliance receiving just 48.85 percent of the vote.
He pointed out how this dilutes the mandates of the smaller parties.
"Democratic Coalition got 5 percent of the vote but will only receive 4 percent of the parliamentary mandates," he told Egyenesen host Olga Kálman.

An article, "Votes cast for opposition party lists invalidated" appearing in index.hu on Tuesday said said that although based on the data received Fidesz's victory did not depend on this, there are results that raise questions.
There are a number of districts where, according to data at valasztas.hu, the number of invalid votes was very high. At one polling station in Baranya county, for example, all votes cast for national lists other than Fidesz's were strangely invalidated.
At the polling station in Bogdás 41 votes appear to have been cast for opposition candidates but not for opposition party lists. It seems unnatural that 41 people managed to cast a valid vote for individual candidates but not for a party list. However, it does appear that in this electoral district there is no opposition supporter who didn't manage to cast an invalid vote. The total district for this electoral subdistrict can be found here.
One of Index's readers believes the explanation for this phenomenon may be that "in Bogdás there were 25 more votes for lists in the ballot box than there were registered voters. In this case, by law the surplus should have been deducted from each party's list, in other words, by 25 votes. Since none of the individual opposition candidates received 25 votes, it is probable that no one party list received 25 votes either. In this way, if we deduct the surplus ballots, every opposition party stands at zero. Of course this raises the question of how there came to be a surplus of ballots cast. The most likely explanation is that the election commission accidentally or intentionally gave two national list ballots and no individual candidate ballots to 25 voters."
•In the Dejtár subdistrict of Nógrád county's second electoral district, an incredibly high number (35 percent) of party list votes were invalid.
•A similar thing happened in Pécsudvard in Barány county: 173 invalid votes were cast in addition to 338 valid ones.
•As a polling station in Kaposfő, out of 396 votes cast for party lists, 89 (that is, 22 percent) were invalid.
•At the polling station in Sokolya, seven of the ballots cast for individual candidates were invalid. According to valasztas.hu, 57 cast an invalid vote for party lists.
•At a polling station in Biatorbágy, 25 percent of votes cast for party lists (192 votes), were invalid, and this is LMP (co-chair and candidate for prime minister-tran.) Bernadett Szél's subdistrict. In the entire district there were 615 invalid votes, of which 192 came from this subdistrict.
Ballots cast for party lists in this electoral subdistrict exhibit another peculiarity: while the Fidesz candidate received 392 votes, the Fidesz party list received 265 votes. And while the 10 percent disparity is strange, 223 votes were cast for Szél and only 53 votes were cast for LMP's party list, even though 47 were cast for the party lists of DK and MSZP, both parties of which supported her candidacy.
So those voting for Szél either did not vote for opposition party lists, or for some reason were declared invalid.
(The Jobbik candidate got 84 votes and its list 87, so those voting for Szél could not have voted for the Jobbik party list.)
Also strange is a polling station in Baja where according to the data at választás.hu, the MSZP-Dialogue candidate received 159 votes but the MSZP-Dialogue joint party list received no votes.
The Fidesz list, on the other hand, received around 100 more votes than the Fidesz candidate. Naturally, it could happen that somebody voted for a MSZP-P candidate but not for their list. But in such large numbers this seems strange at least. One person categorically told Pécsi Stop that he had voted for MSZP.
Naturally, technical mistakes can also account for the results. We asked the National Election Office about how this might have happened, and we will update our article later.
Source: index.hu; budapestbeacon.com

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 14:28

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