Mail votes cast on the opposition were found in a landfill in Romania. It is not even the first brazen electoral fraud in neighboring countries – and it is still four days before elections at home.
Four days before elections at home mail votes cast on the opposition were found in a landfill in Romania.
Orbán has prepared the way for this particular kind of electoral fraud when he handed out over a million Hungarian passports to ethnic Hungarians (and some Russian spies) in neighboring countries. Then he made it possible for them to vote through the mail or through local offices of Fidesz loyalists.
Voting through mail is not allowed to Hungarians currently abroad in western countries, who have to travel to the one or two voting stations in their respective countries to personally cast their votes. The reason: they are less likely to vote for Orbán.
But whether Hungarian passport holders in Serbia, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine would vote for Orbán is also not left to them. In the days running up to the April 3 elections reports of brazen electoral fraud keep pouring in from these countries.
In Serbia, the local allies of Orbán’s Fidesz have kindly volunteered to take the weight off the shoulder of the Serbian post office and deliver and collect voting slips themselves. The activists belong to the same organization that organized the simplified passport scheme in the first place.
As a consequence, known opposition sympathizers don’t get their voting sheets, while others report about aggressive activists telling them how to vote and denying them the right to secretly cast their ballots. What they do with the votes they collect is yet another problem. One told journalists that he could just bring in a sack full of mail votes and no one would ask him where they came from. Nor can anyone check if they are opened, replaced or destroyed.
But even those who send their votes to the designated collection points can’t expect a better treatment. A half-burnt sack full of opposition votes was found in Târgu Mureș, Romania, four days before the Hungarian elections. A Fidesz ally is collecting mail votes in Romania.
Another Hungarian voter living in Romania reported that they could vote instead of their relatives who were currently not at home.
The entire system of running the elections is in Fidesz hands and they get to decide whether these incidents matter.
But don’t hold your breath. In February an opposition MP found that dead people were also allowed to cast their mail votes in neighboring countries as the law only prescribes a check on the voter register every ten years. Out of the 378 thousand voters registered in neighboring countries at the 2018 elections only 3000 was reported dead between 2018-21, even though the natural mortality rate would suggest closer to 15 thousand deaths in such a cohort.
The election office admitted that they really didn’t check if all the voters were alive and that maybe they should have done more. That was it.
But even if they are alive, it is easy to vote on behalf of others in mail voting from neighboring countries, but the system can’t even stop activists from opening mail votes and destroying or replacing the ballot sheets in these cases, as the envelopes are not fortified by any safety measure. As we have clearly seen in the photos above.
Meanwhile, Orbán has called OSCE a “combat tool” of the West and the presence of election observers in Hungary hostile.
In 1947 the Communist Party forced an election and bullied, threatened or banned every voter and party that got in its way to capture a supermajority and end Hungarian democracy. They used the infamous method of letting anyone vote anywhere else in the country – and giving their traveling activists unlimited votes (“blue slips”) to cast on election day. They could get away with it because they were already running the interior ministry and the entire election machinery.
People are looking up the blue slip voting fraud in 2022, but even that fraud pales in scope compared to creating a million new voters and casting votes in their names in such an unsupervised manner.