He spoke of a “historic day”. Minister of the Interior, Niki Kerameos in the central news bulletin of SKAI and Sia Kosionis, referring to postal vote which he presented with the Deputy Minister, Thodoris Livanios, in a press conference after it was approved by the Council of Ministers earlier today. She referred to process of postal voting as well as its security levels.

“If one considers that we are 50 years after the restoration of the Republic, the next European elections that will be held in 2024, exactly 50 years after the restoration of the Republic, will find us in a completely different landscape and for the expatriate Greeks – they will have no practical obstacle -. In the last elections that were held while some obstacles of a legal nature had been largely removed, the other person may have had to take a plane to America for 2-3 hours, travel to go to the consulate to vote”, she pointed out.

How will the voter receive the file – What will it include?

Showing the file, the minister explained that any voter who registers 40 days before the elections – the end of April – will receive it and it will contain 5 items – including an instruction sheet, an all-party ballot paper, on the back of which the desired MEP (the voter) is selected, and the return envelope.

When asked if there is a cost, she stated that: “the goal is for all of this to be pre-paid or for a refund to be made, in order for everyone to participate either inside or outside of Greece. The great innovation is not only that expatriates will be able to exercise their right to vote without any practical obstacle, but we are also starting to foresee this for voters who are in Greece, eg seasonal workers, students. It was also a reasonable request of the opposition”.

What about process security

Asked about her security of this process, she emphasized that firstly, to request that this envelope be sent to you, you must enter the system with the taxisnet codes, an additional verification code is sent to your mobile phone, the so-called OTP, therefore the identity of the voter is ensured, secondly, the voter monitors his progress file, the file is delivered only to him by registered letter or to someone he has authorized, he completes the responsible declaration for participation in the elections and is identified at this level either with a copy of his identity card, or digitally”.

She added that there is a European organization, the OSCE, which has set specific guidelines for countries that apply postal voting, noting that we were one of the few that did not apply it.

At the same time, he mentioned that they will start consultations with the parties before the bill goes to public consultation. “For us it is very important to have a dialogue”, he said characteristically.

Mrs. Kerameos added that it is a historic opportunity and is an answer to how we will provide more incentives for participation. “Abstinence is a major issue, it should concern us all”

About if this process is extended to national elections she said: “Step by step, this particular initiative concerns exclusively the European elections and the national referendums. From there we will see it along the way, there will be an extensive dialogue”.

Mrs. Kerameos emphasized that this is “a step that deepens democracy”.

Beginning of 2024 the bill in the Parliament – In more detail how the postal voting process will take place

The draft law of the Ministry of the Interior “Election of MEPs, Facilitation of Voters’ Votes, Clearing of Electoral Rolls and Other Provisions” and specifically the establishment for the first time in our country of the postal vote, presented by the Minister of the Interior, Niki Kerameos and the Deputy Minister, Theodoris Livaniosin the presence of the General Secretary of Interior and Organization, Athanasios Balerba, at a press conference following its approval by the Cabinet earlier today.

See in detail the presentation from the Ministry of the Interior HERE

The bill moves along four axes: election of MEPs, facilitation of voter voting, clearing of electoral rolls and facilitation of access for the disabled to the pre-election debate.

Specifically for the introduction of postal voting, the voter within the territory can choose whether to exercise his right to vote by postal vote instead of attending his polling station. Out-of-state voters will exercise their right to vote exclusively by postal vote. The voter receives the electoral material, votes and sends his file to the Special Committee for the Collection of Postal Votes in the competent Courts of First Instance. Postal votes are counted at the same time as votes in the rest of the country. The postal vote provided for the time being in said initiative only for the European elections and the national referenda.

The procedure is as follows:

• An electronic portal is created for registration in the postal vote electoral rolls.
• The voter, using his codes, registers his application and fills in the address to which he wants the electoral material to be sent. The mobile phone he declares as well as his email are authenticated with a one-time password (OTP).
• The application becomes final immediately, as soon as it is submitted.
• The deadline for submitting applications ends 40 days before the elections. Until that date the voter can change the delivery address or any other information, as well as cancel his application.

The envelope will contain the postal vote return envelope, the voting envelope, the ballot paper, instruction form and list of candidates, as well as the declaration form.