Partit Demokratiku believes that EU nationals residing in Malta need to be correctly informed on how to register to vote, and that the registration period be extended by at least two weeks following an education campaign and the correction of false information on the Electoral Commission website.
In a statement, PD said that adequate and efficient accessibility to a customer friendly government service is a public right, more so when the service in consideration is an electoral process that is regulated by both national and EU law. The procedures behind EU nationals registering to vote in Malta´s May elections have, however, been fraught with inconsistency, misinformation and a lack of clarity.
Early in March, after being contacted countless times by citizens, the Electoral Office updated one out of several webpages with the relevant information, but up until today the MEP election is the only one showing correct information. Even the FAQ excludes mentioning that citizens have the option to register to vote by sending in the relevant form via post, or by handing it in to their local council or police station, as stipulated by law.
The Electoral Office at the Evans Building in Valletta, with restricted opening hours, is surrounded by very limited infrastructure, such as parking facilities, PD said. This puts people off from going there to register to vote, and many EU nationals have given their view that they would need half a day off work to be able to sort it out, which many would find difficulty in doing.
The law is very clear, any person eligible to vote in Malta (in possession of a Maltese passport or an EU national in possession of an eResidence card) should be able to get the form from their local council or the police station where they reside in and that office will in return forward the filled in form to the Electoral Office against no charge.
Partit Demokratiku finds this situation worrying. Citizens and long term residents have ended up having to fight for their basic rights, and it is for this reason and more that Partit Demokratiku is asking for the extension of the voter registration period, which should be a matter of concern up to the highest levels of European democracy.
Original article found on The Malta Independent