The criminal offense of violating the secrecy of the ballot
The criminal offense of violating the secrecy of the ballot covert voting necessarily requires that voters place their mark on the ballot paper, in the privacy of a secure ballot box, and so that the marked ballot paper is not visible. Only elections in which every holder of the right to vote, freely, secretly, and directly, exercises this right, can be considered democratic by international rules and standards; when this is not exercised, then Article 327 of the Code applies.
Criminal amended by law no.74 / 2012. In this case, the criminal offense is in the legal report provided by the legal provisions for ensuring the vote’s secrecy to guarantee the inviolability of the electoral list, which means to participate only those to whom the law attributes this right.
The criminal offense may be committed by illegal acts or omissions that impede the secrecy of the ballot.
According to the electoral code, everyone has the right to take part in his country’s government, free of charge. Each of us’s will is the basis of power; it will be expressed through periodic and direct elections. The general and equal right to vote will be realized through the secret ballot or adequate electoral procedures, ensuring free voting. The law stipulates that all citizens who have reached 18 participate in the poll, excluding from the voting only the mentally disabled persons, qualified as such by the court based on the forensic report. However, legal norms that guarantee equal suffrage have no value if they are not implemented. The category perhaps most easily abused by the secrecy of the ballot are the blind, the disabled. For the blind, the EB provides that before the elections to offer two or three days of training on voting, provided by the state.
Due to changes in the electoral code, the CEC no longer follows using mobile ballot boxes, which is an electoral practice in many countries, where election officials visit voters’ homes on election day, thus approaching the possibility. , elderly voters or people with physical disabilities to vote. This is a practice that was stopped in our country a few years ago due to concerns about manipulation. Creating opportunities for the broadest possible, equal, and direct participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process is the first, crucial, and necessary step towards their full integration.
Article 108 of the EB states that in cases when the voter, who for physical reasons is not able to perform the voting procedures himself, can seek the help of a family member or another voter who is on the voter list of that area of the center of voting, with a preliminary statement in the Book of Minutes of CEC Meetings.
Both voters must be present at the polling station when this procedure is used, and one person can assist only one voter and voting takes place in a secret room. Assistance can solely be provided by persons who are not part of the election administration, i.e., can not be assisted by members of the election commission or the secretary. Suppose society does not allow all citizens to participate actively and equally in its life, to seek and protect their rights even though the voting mechanism.
In that case, it will never reach the proper levels of democratization. . Before the amendments to the law, no. 23/2012, the Criminal Code provided that “….. violation of the secrecy of the ballot by persons in charge of elections constitutes a criminal offense and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to one year …. “. The changes brought by law 23/2012 were in the increase of the punitive measure for any subject who seeks to violate the fundamental right of the citizen for a secret ballot, setting a minimum of three months and a maximum sentence of up to two years, while the previous criminal code provided for a minimum fine and a maximum of up to 1 year in prison.
So, it is clear the importance that the Albanian legislator has given to free, secret voting. The rule of law is not measured only based on legal norms brought, or according to the adoption of international law in the domestic legislature, but according to the degree of observance of traditional standards. It is of particular importance that voters know that every vote of theirs must be given in secret.
Members of electoral bodies need to know that they, not voters, are responsible for protecting the ballot’s secrecy and that they need to be dealt with quickly and efficiently to deal with irregularities arising from the voting process.
It is often noted from OSCE reports that in Albania at the national level, the right to secrecy of the ballot and violation of this right has always been present, but punished under Article 327 of the CPC.
Today “democracies” can not be reduced to one or several institutions. Choices can coexist with the patron-client relationship by creating easy forms of authoritarianism. Democracies are complex institutional and social ecologies that, as before, involve constitutional states divided into legislative, administrative, and judicial functions; powerful public spheres of opinion formation from which state decisions, laws, and actions derive their legitimacy; civil societies which cultivate civic capacities and create alternative avenues for collective action.