Bulgaria's CEC Spokesperson:

‘Can they not count 50 votes, and therefore need machines?’

Machine voting is pointless, state official says
Nikolay Marchenko

Dimitar Dimitrov, spokesperson of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), believes the voting
machines introduced this year at all polling stations with over 300 voters are completely useless.

“When are you going to realise that this kind of voting is useless?”

“Except being really costly and involving machines, it is of no real benefit to anyone,” the electoral systems expert said in a telephone conversation with Bivol.

We reached out to the CEC spokesperson for comment on our forthcoming article about the voting machines supplied by the Venezuelan company Smartmatic – a story we are working on in collaboration with our colleagues from Columbian investigative website Armando Info.

Machine voting demonstration in front of the parliament building (Photo: Svetlomir Stoyanov for Bivol)

According to Dimitar Dimtrov opposition parties would not benefit from the machine vote either.

“And neither would those who have established their political project. But that is quite another matter.”

“You were probably among those people who were marching down the streets, chanting:  “Machine voting, machine voting!”, as I understand you are partial to the matter,” Dimitrov also commented.

“Look, you can’t introduce machine voting for about 50 voters. That is absolutely pointless,” the CEC member adamantly pointed out.

“Are there no people in Bulgaria capable of counting those 50 or 70 votes, so you have to give them
machines?”

The author then asked if the machines would not guarantee a better quality of the vote count, as the computer would not make any mistakes in the numbers.

“What do they guarantee? They guarantee nothing!”

“There are representatives from every political party there, observers from all parties and so on.
You can also get registered as an observer or appoint observers in each of the 11 thousand polling stations,” Dimitrov emphasised.

He also reacted sharply to opinions expressed by experts and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition that machine voting would make the processing of the final results more efficient.

Two months ago Bivol published a detailed story exposing serious doubts of potential manipulation of the machines commissioned by the government (see more here).

“There are no such experts, tell me who that expert is!”

“So I can at least condemn them,” fumed Dimitrov in reply to the question why despite the bill of over 40 million Bulgarian levs not enough machines have been bought to cover all polling stations, as has been proposed by political scientists and election experts.

“What more do you want? Do you want me to tell you my opinion? I have told you all I think already,” he concluded.

The CEC spokesperson likely realised he had gone too far and tried to right himself after the above statements, pointing out that they were his personal opinion:

“Do not quote me, this is my personal opinion!”

Then he threatened he would never comment on anything for the media any more, unless contacted in written form.

“Then please, from now on, for you and for all the others, send your questions in written form and
we will reply in writing.”

Machine voting demonstration in front of the parliament building (Photo: Svetlomir Stoyanov for Bivol)

Bivol’s reporter managed to record the entire conversation with the CEC spokesperson before the latter excused himself pointing out he had no time and then hung up. The recording was made during an official conversation in Mr. Dimitrov’s public service capacity.

Dimitar Dimitrov has been a member of CEC since 2019, when he was nominated by the Association of Political Scientists in Bulgaria.

To be continued…

More disclosures about the shady connections of Smartmatic, the Latin American provider of Bulgaria’s voting machines, will be coming soon in a joint investigation by Bivol and Venezuaelan journalists Armando Info.

***

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