Elections at all costs. Paralysis of Poczta Polska and imprisonment for losing the voting card are coming

Next month Poczta Polska basically stops working. The law on the change of election rules will allow her - the election of the new president is to be carried out above all else. Even if it means stopping delivery of your most important shipments.

The topic of presidential elections in Poland is at least controversial. There is ongoing legal, social and moral dispute over the term and their form regarding the prevailing coronavirus epidemic. The government is pushing us to elect a new president in May, as is clear from the election calendar, and - citing the constitution - does not want to hear about alternatives. He also has a quick plan of their implementation.

For the first time, elections would take place by correspondence. Poczta Polska will be responsible for their service, which is to ensure the rapid distribution of millions of state-weight parcels in a short time. Can he handle it? With all due respect to the employees of Poczta Polska who are working hard and putting their health at risk: this seems extremely doubtful. The government seems to share this assessment of the situation, as it will allow our national Post Office to suspend its operations. Elections are to be held at almost all costs.

The Polish Post will be exempted from the obligation to provide other postal services during the elections.

According to Art. 16 of the Act on the amendment of election rules, Poczta Polska will be released from the obligation to deliver parcels. So if the supplier is overloaded with new obligations set by the government - and this seems highly likely - then he may abandon other obligations. This raises not only practical but also legal problems.

After all, Poczta Polska provides services related to the delivery of official parcels. It is therefore unclear what will happen if we are harmed by failure to deliver valid court summons, letters from ZUS or tax offices within the set deadline. It is worth remembering that in many cases a citizen has a fixed period of time to appeal against a decision or provide relevant documents related to an important case pending. The Act does not even describe such cases.

The task of Poczta Polska will be to deliver the election package directly to the voter's mailbox to the address indicated in the voter list. This is to take place from seven days to a day before election day. The electoral package shall include a returnable envelope, a voting card, an envelope for a voting card, correspondence voting instructions and a statement on personal and secret voting on the voting card.

As if that was not enough, inadequate treatment of the parcel from Poczta Polska threatens ... imprisonment.

No, it's not a joke. Not only that our interests may be seriously violated by blocking Poczta Polska, in addition, the Act provides severe penalties if we do not return the ballot card we have received. We do not have to fill in the card - we have the right to cast an invalid vote - but we also have the obligation to return the card to the designated outbox. So if we destroy it, lose it or fail to deliver it for other reasons, we risk being imprisoned for up to three years. Article 17 of the said Act speaks of this.

Therefore, participation in elections becomes, in principle, compulsory - people interested in civic protest can only send back an invalid vote, which seems to be the only legal form of criticism of the presidential election in its current form and candidates participating in this mess. It is difficult to comment on this - electoral law and politics are beyond the competence of Spider's Web - we can, however, sadly point to an alternative that as Poles have not yet been seen. An alternative that is most closely related to the world of technology.

Online elections not in Poland. A pity, because in many countries they are carried out successfully.

Brazil introduced the option of online voting for all citizens as early as 2000 and this form of election is very successful in this country. In the 2010 presidential election, over 135 million votes were cast online. The results were announced in 75 minutes after the end of the voting time.

It is also successfully carried out by nearby Estonia. There, every citizen can vote digitally, and even change their minds and change their vote for another candidate - they have time to end the election time. In the last two elections, over 33 percent sent their votes online. Estonians.

Should a similar solution be introduced in Poland? Definitely yes, although demanding the introduction of this form of voting at the next May occasion also seems unreasonable.

The IT system supporting the elections must be meticulously designed and thoroughly tested.

It is basically impossible to develop an electronic election system in a month, and any attempts are dangerous. This is known by Australians who discovered during the 2015 election that the iVote electronic system contains a significant security gap that could have been exploited to influence their results. Ill will is not always the problem. Electronic elections in Belgium in 2003 were rigged by a software bug that, as a result of a spontaneous adding of a bit to memory, added one candidate to 4096 additional votes .

Electronic local elections in the state of Ontario (Canada) in 2018 also failed, when the IT system supporting the elections worked flawlessly, but the network on which it operated did not survive, preventing citizens from voting in the prescribed time.

The safest solution seems to be postponing elections. I am not trying to judge who will gain or lose their political capital. However, I know that Poczta Polska was commissioned with an impossible task, and when it comes to online elections, we can only regret that we did not deal with it this summer. Personal appearance at the polling station, in turn, exposes us to coronavirus infection. All that remains is to keep our fingers crossed so that the democratically elected by the sovereign and the government at his service will realize this.

Elections at all costs. Paralysis of Polish Post and imprisonment for losing the ballot are coming


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