Falsification of election material and election results

Falsification of election material and election results another crime figure that affects the democratic electoral system is Article 326 of the Republic of Albania’s Criminal Code. For a state to hold democratic elections, the authenticity and accuracy of the documents that serve the electoral process must be ensured in the first place. Being a free country starts from the regularity of the forms and the result of the free elections.

Legal relations established by law ensure the system of elections free from falsification of documents and voting results are carried out by illegal actions or omissions. Situations and ways in which election results can be manipulated are very different, from the circumstances, from the compilation of documents, the introduction of false elements. Of course, these actions change ultimately and do not reflect the truth of the sovereign will; the right to vote is not respected as a right that must be expressed in the citizen’s full conscience after being well informed about the candidate he wants to cast.

His faith and it is essential that each of us contributes through the vote to the choice of state creation. This is why it is necessary to vote. This vote not to be falsified, but to be protected by all democratic, illegal legislative means as presented in Article 326, which punishes actions or omissions in fabricating the number of participants in the voting for the circumstances in which conducted elections by distorting the truth and any other kind of manipulation.

Regarding the falsification of election material, in the elections of June 23, 2013, in the district of Lezha, there were problems with the abuse and counting of votes for this district, who have made favors for a particular party, thus changing the election result. The CEC has unanimously decided to initiate criminal proceedings against 50 commissioners and enumerators of the Lezha Region, representatives of its leading political forces. They are charged by the Central Election Commission to manipulate the election result for two electoral administration areas in the Region of Lezha.

Also, the CEC has requested that the members of the commissions that have committed violations to be prosecuted and no longer be members in new elections, 50 commissioners and counters who are required to be charged by the Lezha Prosecutor’s Office are accused of forgery of the election result under Article 326 CC (can be punished by imprisonment of 2-7 years).

We can say that this decision was critical to step towards the consolidation of the rule of law, and the strict implementation of the Electoral Code, the observance of which democracy has been low throughout these years. Another form in which the results can be changed is not keeping the documents required by law; the latter creates enough ground for falsifying elections and turning them in favor of one or the other candidate. By-election material, we mean any document necessary for the conduct of elections in quantity and content according to the Electoral Code requirements.

According to law 74/2012, this category includes voter lists, minutes, ballot papers. Regarding the voter list, Article 44 of the Electoral Code provides a series of criteria such as citizenship, age 18, not to have been declared by a final court decision as incapable of acting, to be registered in the national register of civil status, to be written only in one polling station.

The penalties provided for in Article 326 divide the active subject into two categories. On the one hand, the first paragraph provides that any person who commits the criminal offense of falsifying election materials is punishable by imprisonment of one to five years. On the other hand, the second paragraph of Article 326 has been amended by law no. 144/2013, the latter has abolished the fair sentence leaving in force only the imprisonment sentence.

Furthermore, the second paragraph follows, when this offense is committed by persons who must administer the electoral process, or has brought severe consequences to the conduct of voting, has violated the integrity of the election result or has brought their invalidity, is punished with imprisonment from three to seven years.

We note that the punitive measure for the subjects in charge of the elections’ administration is provided by the KP more severe punishment. According to Article 168 of the EB, the persons in charge of the administration of elections are the members of the election commissions and the public administration employees in these commissions’ service. Of course, for the criminal offense to be considered consummated, Article 326 states that the purpose of falsifying, distributing, or using ballot papers, documents, and election material is to change the election result.