A scandal that could condition the 28M elections dirty the electoral campaign in Melilla. The Government delegate in the autonomous city, Sabrina Moh, has indicated this Thursday that the National Police has an investigation underway for possible electoral fraud through the alleged purchase of more than 10,000 votes by mail. “We could be talking about a third of the representatives of the Melilla Assembly,” he explained, taking the number of voters in the 2019 elections as a reference. “These are very serious events, if proven to be true, and in that sense our maximum dedication to clarify these facts under the direction of the judicial authority”, added the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, in statements to the media in the corridors of the Senate.
The headquarters of the Coalition for Melilla appears burned after requesting the suspension of the elections due to an alleged “massive fraud”
Up to now, there have been 11,002 requests to vote by mail in Melilla, of which they have finally been exercised, and only for now, 704. The deadline to request a vote by mail ends this Wednesday while to exercise said right it is extended until next day 24, according to government sources.
The enormous volume of requests to vote by mail caused an alarm in the authorities, fueled by the cases of vote buying detected in the autonomous city in the past. According to the sources cited, the Central Electoral Board has not only just supported the measure adopted by the Zone Board, but has extended the obligation to present the DNI to anyone who wants to vote for a Melilla candidacy from anywhere in Spain. Until the exceptional measure adopted on Wednesday by the Zone Electoral Board, once the DNI was presented for the application, the second act, by which the right was exercised at the post office, did not require the presentation of the National Identity Document .
In addition, the head of the Investigating Court number 2 of Melilla had ordered the Provincial Information Brigade to investigate the massive request to vote by mail and collect information from the Mail from anyone who submitted more than one vote. In other calls, entire bags had been presented at the Post Office by a single person.
In an interview on TVE, the representative of the central Executive in the city, asked for caution so that the police investigation is carried out until the end, adding that, “if true”, the alleged irregularities “may be around 20%” of a census total of almost 55,000 voters. Moh recalled that in 2019 there were some 34,000 people who voted in Melilla, which is why she has slipped that it could be said that “a third of the Melilla Assembly could be voting by mail right now.”
Almost 20% of Melilla residents have requested a vote by mail, compared to 2% nationally
This Wednesday, the Zone Electoral Board (JEZ) agreed that mail-in voters identify themselves when casting their vote at the Melilla Post Office. The JEZ pointed to figures that are “unsustainable” and that “suggest that there could be irregularities in the process”, so that in Melilla voters by mail will be required to identify themselves by ID, passport or other valid document at the time of deliver the certified envelope with the postal vote for delivery to the table, in response to the request made by PP and Podemos in this regard, and with the vote against by the Coalition for Melilla (CPM). Until now, voters had to identify themselves to request the documentation for voting by mail, but not to later deliver the envelope with their ballot to the Post Office; the current decision is unprecedented.
As reported by EFE, the long queues of citizens who have been observed in recent days at the Melilla Post Office to request the vote have disappeared this Thursday, after the announcement by the JEZ that voters will be required to prove their identity to the time to send your ballot to the polling station.
“Although experience in this city has shown that the percentage of voters who opt for this type of vote [por correo] It is much higher than the national average, this percentage has skyrocketed in relation to previous elections” -says the JEZ-, going from 6.04% that occurred in the elections to Cortes Generales in June 2016 to the current 17.95 %, while at the national level the percentages of voters who request to vote by mail have remained between 2% and 4%.
I hope that it can be stopped and that we can have a clean, transparent electoral process and that citizens can really choose which representatives they want
Sabrina Moh, Government delegate in Melilla
The Government delegate said this Thursday that she hopes that the electoral process will develop normally. “There is little left, but we have been working for a long time and I hope that it can be stopped and that we can have a clean, transparent electoral process and that citizens can really choose who the representatives they want are,” she added. She has also confirmed that there are border controls in case that vote by mail “can also leave Melilla.”
The background in Melilla
The Electoral Board, however, has ruled out suspending voting by mail in the autonomous city, since such a measure would require that there had been a relevant adulteration of the electoral process based on objective data. The JEZ does cite two relevant circumstances: the testimony of a citizen who affirms that several parties have offered him money for his vote; and the second, the criminal procedure for irregularities in voting by mail in the 2008 general elections, in which members of the PSOE and CPM, including their respective top officials, were sentenced for buying votes in exchange for a position in employment plans.
Suspicions and investigations into electoral fraud have been recurrent in different electoral processes in Melilla. The two main political parties in the Assembly, PP and CPM, have accused each other of being behind the alleged irregularities in voting by mail and the theft of electoral documentation from Post Office workers, which prompted the Security Forces to carry out escort work. Two days ago, the headquarters of the Coalition for Melilla appeared burned after requesting the suspension of the elections due to this alleged “massive fraud”.
Escorted postmen and strong suspicions of “fraud”
In recent days there have been several complaints of robbery by hooded Post Office workers who were distributing electoral documentation, which led the Government Delegation to reinforce the security of the delivery men, who have been under police escort since last week. Security has also been reinforced at the Post Office, both outside, where there was already a permanent patrol since the day the elections were called, and inside. It is estimated that around a hundred postal votes were stolen, which have been annulled.
“Right now we are in the middle of the investigation process to be able to clarify all the facts; if it were true, electoral fraud would be being committed ”, stated the Government delegate, who has shown her full confidence in the work of the National Police in collaboration with the Civil Guard and the Local Police.
Moh has asked for caution when asked if there are already identified people involved in this alleged electoral fraud and has recognized that “what causes the alarm bells to go off” are the massive requests for voting by mail in “such an important number and with the increase that It happens every day.” “It already exceeds those of 2019, which were already the highest in the entire national territory. These figures made us think that something could be happening ”, she emphasized.
We estimate that this vote can also leave the city of Melilla and it is important to have all this under control
When asked if the circumstances for the development of elections on 28-M are given, the Government delegate has answered that “right now” they are in a “complicated moment”. “There is little time left for the development of the elections, but we have been working for a long time and I hope that it can be stopped,” she added.
In this sense, Moh has pointed out that the investigation “not only focuses on the territory environment”, speaking of facilities both inside and outside Correos offices, “but has also been implemented throughout the perimeter”, in reference to the port , airport and borders. “We estimate that this vote can also leave the city of Melilla and it is important to have all this under control so that the investigation can bear fruit”, he has intervened.