View Adopted: 2021.10.21
Authors are Moldovan nationals permanently resident in Italy and the United Kingdom. Moldovan law permits non-resident citizens to vote, but limits the number of ballots at foreign polling stations and grants authorities leeway in determining the quantity of foreign polling stations on the basis of voter registrations and past election data. Following the mobilisation of foreign-resident voters in the 2016 Moldovan elections, authors found themselves unable to vote due to an insufficient quantity of ballots and long lines, despite prior warnings made to Moldovan authorities. Moldovan courts ultimately dismissed authors’ actions on procedural grounds concerning the appropriate body to address the issue. Authors contend violations of articles 2(1), 14(1) and 25 (b) of the Convention.
The Committee found the majority of the authors’ communication admissible on the following grounds: (i) authors had exhausted local remedies and the committee was thus not precluded by article 5 (2) (b) of the Optional Protocol from entertaining the complaint; and (ii) because the authors had sufficiently substantiated their allegations.However, the Committee found the portion of the communication concerning disputes as to the facts presented before Moldovan courts (second sentence of art. 14 (1) to be inadmissible, for the authors did not provide substantiation that the Moldovan courts acted arbitrarily.
The Committee found no violation of Article 25, given that Moldovan authorities’ estimates on the basis of previous elections were reasonable and because the ballot shortage occurred only at a minority of polling stations, where alternative voting locations were offered. Further, given that the actions of Moldovan authorities were not unreasonable, no violation of Article 25 read in conjunction with Article 2 (1) occurred either. Finally, given that the authors were able to have their complaint heard before Moldovan courts, no violation of Article 14 (1) occurred either.
Committee Member Shuichi dissented and found a violation of Article 25 on the basis that the Moldovan authorities acted without due diligence in light of the changes in polling data and the issue having been brought to the authorities’ attention in advance.
By Justin Golden