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Tag Archives: voter registration cards

There is no real voter registration system in Lithuania.

A voter’s registration system has a purpose of, well, registering voters. This has two sub-purposes: one, to determine the citizen’s voting district and, two, to enable authorities to check the signature of the voter in order to determine whether, for instance, a candidate seeking to be registered as such has gathered a sufficient number of supporting signatures.

As explained in an earlier post, Lithuania’s system does not involve either sub-purposes. They never check signatures against any registry. They don’t have a voter’s registration system.

That’s why I call that which they have an anti-system. It serves no reasonable, democratic, purpose.

What determines the geographical area in which a citizen is allowed to vote in Lithuania? A registry of inhabitants.

All inhabitants must be “registered” into a government-approved address. Obviously, there is no requirement to actually live there. Many live in so-called “sodai” (little houses built in the country-side in collectively owned Soviet era “clubs”), which are not capable of being used as official residences. The system, thus, has falsehood built into it. It is normal to have friends register one in their apartment whilst one lives wherever.

The inhabitant registration system has little utility. Nevertheless, it remains, somewhat as an “extra” appendix. There is a cost of upkeep, there are circumstances when it is troublesome, but in general, it has little meaning. One cannot state that in registering oneself one actually is stating that one is residing at the address given: it is more of a formal requirement.

Now, there is a new party trying to get elected, and it has a good deal of support. Its leader is one Venckiene. She is from the Kaunas region, but she has chosen to run for office in the area where an arch-enemy, the present speaker of the parliament, is running. This is a voting district in Vilnius.

So – her supporters have been … re-registering themselves in the aforesaid Vilnius voting district!

Indeed, they have registered 1500 people into one apartment!

I love it! They are turning the system against itself. The authorities are having fits, but since the system is vestigial at best, there is little they can do about it.

The info can be found here (at the end of the news article) in Lithuanian.

Note: the stakes are high. If Venckiene beats the present speaker, she will at the least have gained even more moral authority.

This just in! The present speaker of the parliament has demanded that the voting commission stop the ongoing registration into the “ghost headquarters,” but the commission has replied that they are powerless to do so …

I suppose I should explain. When one has a normal voter’s registration law, obviously submitting false information, such as a false address, would and should be a punishable offense. One in that case has obviously tampered with the voting process, fraudulently.

BUT there is no voter’s registration in Lithuania. There is only the inhabitant – registration system I described above. It is not fraudulent to register oneself anywhere one likes. One must register, but that is it. One can register anywhere.

So, in this “system,” Lithuanian citizens can register as they please. They are not per se committing any fraud. It is not their fault that the “system” then uses this data to determine where the aforesaid citizen can vote.

Hilarious!

Well, I’ve  seen a few things in my day. This is a new one on me.

In order for a person to be a candidate, most systems require signatures to be collected. Here is a link to some requirements in the various U.S. states. The idea is that signatures are checked against those on voter registration cards or other records in order to eliminate fraud.

These are the basic requirements in normal jurisdictions:

  • “The signature must be of a registered voter, as established by comparing the name to that state’s list of registered voters.
  • The signature on the petition must match the signature on the voter registration card filed when that voter registered to vote.
  • The signature must not be a duplicate signature. This occurs when a voter signs the same petition more than once. If this happens, in some states, one signature counts and the other(s) don’t. In other states, if a voter signs more than once, none of his or her signatures count.” (From Ballotopedia, “Valid Signature.

Here we have a link to a news article about a potential candidate whose submitted paperwork did not match, allegedly, the signature requirements and who was therefore prevented from running for the Lithuanian parliament (elections are coming up in October of 2012).  That’s not really news, nor is it of much interest.

Except for one thing.

The authorities admit that they do not check signatures for authenticity; that is, for fraud. They claim they have nothing to check them against! (“Rašysenos ekspertė Jūratė Kurgonienė pabrėžė, kad ji netikrino parašų autentiškumo, nes neturėjo tų asmenų parašų pavyzdžių.”)

This has been the situation for years, and no one cares.

Yet – they do check to see if the circulator filled out the forms him or herself. THAT’s a no-no. Though how it impacts on fraud, if at all, is highly questionable. Similar requirements that add nothing to the equation have been invalidated in various U.S. states.

Again, the problem is that there is considerable formality, which impacts negatively on a citizen’s right to participate in the democratic process. The form to be filled out is difficult – it requires one’s governmental ID number, the registered address, and all in boxes. This is not easy for those who are older, have difficulties seeing, or simply have trouble writing, whether through injury or other infirmity.

So, again, we have the semblance of order, but no substance.

Or, to be more specific, we have a set of rules which are expedient  for the rule-maker. It is true that the rule in place would find certain unsophisticated forgers: the rule is that the petition signer himself must fill out the entire form, and therefore if a party fills out a number of forms, and forges the signatures thereon, the fraud might be easily discerned merely by comparing forms submitted for one candidate.

Thus, the rule is quite expedient for the government.

But it undoubtedly impinges upon the citizenry’s ability to participate in the voting process. It also punishes the innocent signature collector (and his candidate) who helped fill in a form for a person who had physical difficulty doing so.

The method relied upon also does not and cannot find the following type of fraudulent signature: the type in which the entire form and the signature are inauthentic but unique (they do not match the handwriting on other forms submitted by the same candidate).

Thus, we have the imitation of order, expedient for the election commission to administrate, but which is unjust. As always, in Lithuania, the fact that the process is unjust is irrelevant. Justice vs. expediency. Bet on expediency every time.