National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum

Hungary’s National Election Office has processed 32,254 mail-in ballots for the Sunday  referendum against EU-wide “migrant quotas” and has deemed that 18% of them (5,708) were spoiled by voters. Hungarians living abroad and holding dual citizenship are eligible to vote by mail-in ballot, but thus far only 28% of the 274,573 registered voters have chosen to participate in the October 2nd referendum. The National Election Office will continue to both receive and process mail-in ballots on Thursday and Friday, but participation among those who live abroad and hold dual citizenship is far below the 50% +1 threshold.

An example of a spoiled ballot provided by the satirical Hungarian Two Tailed Dog Party.

An example of a spoiled ballot provided by the satirical Hungarian Two Tailed Dog Party.

It’s hard to tell if the large number of spoiled ballots are deliberate, or merely an indication that Hungarians living abroad are not completing their voting packages as per the National Election Office’s instructions. It takes several steps to cast a valid mail-in vote. Voters must complete a declaration form with their name, date of birth and other personal information, and must include this form alongside their completed mail-in ballot, but must not place it together with their ballot into the small white envelope (which goes into the larger self-addressed and stamped envelope) that voters have been provided.

The satirical Hungarian Two Tailed Dog Party (Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt) has launched a very visible poster and billboard campaign in Hungary, calling on Hungarians to spoil their ballots in the October 2nd referendum. The party went as far as to develop an innovative mobile app, which allows pedestrians to use their smartphones to block out government referendum billboards in bus shelters and in public squares, and superimpose on them the Dog Party’s call to spoil ballots. The use of humour may be proving effective.

A Dog Party billboard, which reads: "Today's enemy: Extraterrestrial, Soros-hireling Illuminati Chemtrailing Norwegian teachers."

A Dog Party billboard, which reads: “Our enemy today: Extraterrestrial Soros-hireling Illuminati chemtrailing Norwegian teachers.”

Dog party billboard in Budapest. No explanation needed...

Dog party billboard in Budapest. No explanation needed…

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Supreme Court of Hungary ruled that the Orbán government’s decision to mail letters to tens of thousands of Hungarians living abroad, imploring that they vote “no” (against EU-wide “migrant quotas”), contravened the country’s election law. The government used a database containing the addresses of Hungarian citizens registered to vote, in order to campaign for the ruling Fidesz party’s position in the referendum.

The line between the ruling party and the state has been eroded in this campaign. Maté Kocsis, the Fidesz Mayor of Budapest’s 8th District, confirmed in a television interview Wednesday night that Hungarian civil servants “had the opportunity” to cold call voters and read to them the text of a Fidesz party pamphlet on the referendum and why it is essential to vote “no.” Mr. Kocsis sees no problem with Hungarian civil servants spending their paid working hours cold calling citizens on behalf of the ruling political political party and reading from a brochure, which bears the Fidesz logo. The Fidesz mayor called the party document used by civil servants in their campaign for the ruling party as simply a “communication guideline.” Using Hungarian civil servants in party campaigns is prohibited by law in Hungary, but we now have confirmation that this is happening.

There are other examples of the ruling party contravening election laws as well. Péter Konya, an independent opposition MP, has filed a complaint after he discovered that potential voters in Komárom-Esztergom county were being “bought.” Reportedly, voters are receiving care packages with food and snacks, if they commit to voting “no” in the referendum.

4 Comments

  1. I certainly appreciate all opposition activities but I think it should be at the first place a proposal of usable solutions in order to help solving problems instead of idiotic mocking of the government when no one can offer better solution. The sole destruction of a government by amateurs in hope that killing off someone they are not satisfied with will make things better is a huge mistake and does not guarantee better life in the future. Only a worse one.

  2. Charlie London says:

    As the news trickles out it is clear that Orban’s Threatenerendum is flawed, useless and invalid.

    Only he knows what his next ‘ruse’ will be – but I’m certain it will have been shown to be the biggest waste of funds and time in recent Hungarian history.

    Whatever weight he believes it can have in negotiations with the EU, he is very much mistaken.

    Oliver Cromwell said this to the Rump Parliament in England in 1653 (as did Amery to Chamberlain when he came back with his infamous piece of paper signed by Hitler):

    “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

    • Christopher Adam says:

      It is, indeed, a huge waste of funds. At minimum, we are talking about 10 billion forints. That’s what we know for certain. But what about hundreds of civil servants, drawing salaries from taxpayers, who are actively campaigning during their regular work day for Fidesz with their cold calling activities? It is outrageous. Fidesz needs to pay a political price for this.

  3. Pingback: National Election Office: 18 percent of mail-in ballots spoiled in Hungarian referendum | Hungarian Free Press | Verified Voting

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