October 4, 2022:
“By the way, something about the machines. If my memory serves me well, about 70 thousand are those people, who went to vote, to not vote for anyone, which I do not believe. Because many people, where you have to turn to the other page, the box I white, on a white background, and if you stand straight, it’s not visible. You have to sit down in order to see it well. And I’m sure that many people, who didn’t find it, have clicked and that’s how the rejection happened. Many people in our party told me that that’s what they did.”
This is what the chairman of GERB Boyko Borisov said during a press conference on October 4, 2022. The statement can be heard six minutes and thirty seconds after the start of the press conference.
In his speech, the leader of GERB Boyko Borisov suggested that the button for turning the page in the ballot in the voting machines was not visible well and, accordingly, voters didn’t get to the options for choosing the parties and coalitions on the second page. Respectively, those who didn’t see the party they wanted to vote for pressed the ‘I don’t support anyone’ button.
Article 261 of the Electoral Code, which determines the content of the ballot, states that “a box for putting an ‘X’ or ‘V’, reflection the will of the voter, in which ‘I don’t support anyone’ is written, is placed just below all other attributes – the full and abbreviated name of the party or coalition and their corresponding squares. They are located on the left side of the ballot, and on the right are the circles with the numbers of the preferences – the choice of a specific candidate from the party list”.
These content and layout rules also apply to machine voting, where the ballot is exactly the same, but in an electronic version. Thus, the box ‘I don’t support anyone’ is last, in the case of the elections on October 2, 2022 – on the second page, after all parties and coalitions.
This was explained in the explanatory campaign of the Central Electoral Commission in connection with the early parliamentary vote, and during TV appearances of members and speakers of the Commission during the pre-election campaign.
In a video titled “How to vote with a machine – step by step” posted on the Commission’s official Youtube channel on August 29, 2022, at 1:53, the ‘I don’t support anyone’ box is seen as the last option on the last, second page of the ballot.
During his appearance on “This Saturday” on BTV on the day before the elections (October 1, 2022), the deputy chairman and spokesman of the Central Electoral Commission Tsvetozar Tomov made a demonstration vote by machine. It can also be seen here that the option ‘I do not support anyone’ is last, on the second page of the ballot, after all parties, coalitions and independent candidates.
During the election campaign, a machine voting simulator was available for use on the Central Electoral Commission website. This simulator can still be accessed HERE. Here as well it’s obvious that the option ‘I don’t support anyone’ is the last.
The ‘I don’t support anyone’ option on the ballot for the elections on October 2, 2022, is last, after all parties, coalitions and independent candidates, and is on the second page when voting by machine. This fact refutes the claim of GERB chairman Boyko Borisov that some of the people who chose ‘I don’t support anyone’ did so because they did not find the button to go to the next page of the ballot. If those people couldn’t find that button, then they couldn’t choose ‘I don’t support anyone’ either, because the options for that choice was on the second page of the ballot. Thus, Borisov’s claim that voters mistakenly chose ‘I don’t support anyone’ is misleading.
Translated by Vanessa Nikolova