Restricting and intimidating party delegates
Polling Stations Committee (PSC) members in our research revealed that they had not been allowed to carry out certain phases of the commission's work despite all PSC members having equal rights and obligations.
“We could stamp ballots, note the turnout number etc. like in previous years. Now they let us do it too for a while then the local official came in. I think she was from the Local Election Office and said that party delegates are not allowed to check the data (of voters), they cannot stamp ballots and note the turnout number. This was around 11 in the morning.” (2018 parliamentary elections)
It is not uncommon that party delegates are subject to
stigmatisation and intimidation.
This has been particularly the case in precincts where delegates are part of the
“In the neighbouring precinct a Socialist party delegate told me that he had not been able to come because his car had broken down. He later told me that it hadn’t been his car but he had been threatened to lose his public workfare job so he cancelled.” (2019 municipal elections)
Respondents revealed that they did NOT record perceived irregularities, including other members of the PSC pressuring voters, using mobile phones, intimidating elderly mobile ballot-box voters and restricting PSC members’ work.
However, our research reveals that these numbers do not reflect the high rate of actual anomalies.
Mobile ballot box voting irregularities
PSC members surveyed reveal mass intimidation of people living in nursing homes, who are unable to care for themselves.
“There was an elderly woman, who was sitting across from us and said she had had 2 strokes already and that she had not remembered anything but remembered that they had been instructed to vote for Fidesz because otherwise they would lose their bed in the care home.“ (2019 EP elections)
Vote-buying for public work, cash and benefits
After the EP elections, one in ten delegates interviewed said that they had suspected vote-buying or carousel voting.
This number was similar in the municipal elections.
In the 2020 Borsod by-election
respondents suspected such illegal activity.
“It's a very poor village; I was told that they got 5,000 HUF per person for their vote. And the old people were indoctrinated, and a family member helped them. Supposedly 10,000 was given to those who carried a voter (per voter), millions were collected.” (2018 parliamentary elections)
"What's very important here, in my opinion, is that the mayor is keeping people very much on a tight leash. Because there were many times when the voters put the ballot in front of me and looked me in the eye, asking ‘can you see that I’m voting for THAT?’ There were hundreds of times when the phone cameras clicked and flashed inside the booth ." (2019 municipal elections)
Damaged credibility of precinct results
Across elections, we identified
cases, when delegates
were asked to sign the protocols blank.
In the 2020 by-election in Borsod, nearly
said they did
signing a blank protocol. This calls into question the credibility of the results to a large extent.
“After the first voter cast his ballot, the administrator asked the members of the commission to sign 5 blank protocols on the side, where the results should be recorded. I said that it was against the law and that I couldn’t sign it. I asked whether this is a practice they always follow and they said yes, the town’s notary instructed them to do it this way.” (2019 EP elections)
Illegal mobilisations have been reported by polling stations across the country. These often took place inside the polling station over the phone, which is a serious violation of the law.
"The note taker said, "They're here, Mr. Mayor", I said, "Get your phone out of here right now! But then I realised that he didn't want to know how many came, but who, because the voters came by streets. Because the church has a van." (2018 parliamentary elections)
Our independent investigation into Hungary’s elections is thanks to the team’s persistent volunteer work and financial contribution.