September 15 is the last day when the Romanians who live abroad may submit their preferences for voting in the presidential election
The presidential election is drawing close, and the Romanians living abroad only have a few days left to announce how they intend to vote. Extended on Thursday by the Government, under an emergency order, the new deadline is September 15. By filling in an online form on www.votstrainatate.ro, prospective voters can choose between postal voting and voting in person at a polling station set up abroad.
Those who choose postal voting must submit a scanned copy of their identity document and of the residence permit issued by the host country. For polling station voting, applicants must fill in an online form specifying their name, personal identification code, the locality and country where they intend to vote, and attach a scan or photo of their ID.
A polling station can be set up abroad if at least 100 people from the same locality or area request it. After they have registered on this platform, the respective Romanian citizens will be removed from the permanent voter lists in Romania and included in the permanent voter list abroad.
The head of the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania, Constantin Mituleţu-Buicǎ, promised that the data collected from the Romanian citizens living abroad will not be used by the tax authorities, a concern that has allegedly prompted many Romanians to prefer voting in polling stations and that consequently makes the election process more difficult:
Constantin Mituleţu-Buicǎ: “The data gathered during the previous election, the one for the European Parliament, indicate that nearly 400,000 Romanians voted abroad. We have not disclosed and will not disclose personal data to the authorities, except for the purpose of the election process or if required in administrative or criminal investigations, but never will we provide such data to the fiscal authorities for taxation purposes or for identifying where certain citizens live and have voted.”
The first round of the presidential election is due on November 10, and the runoff is scheduled on November 24. The Romanians who live abroad will be able to vote by post during a 3-day period. Romanian diplomatic missions may already request the Foreign Ministry the setup of polling stations abroad, a process due to conclude on October 19.
Although there are millions of Romanian nationals who live outside the country, by Friday morning only 73,000 people had registered for postal voting and for voting at a polling station abroad, which makes commentators expect unnerving queues in this election as well.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)