As soon as you go into the polling station on Saturday and you are handed a ballot sheet, there are a series of rules you need to follow to make sure you do not invalidate your vote. Additionally, you will have plenty of cues to help you distinguish one candidate from the other, such as photos, names and party emblems.
What will the ballot look like?
Above you can see a draft ballot sheet. All candidates, whether in the ballot sheet for the Local Council Elections or that for the European Elections, will be separated by party. While the ballot sheet for the Local Council Elections will be fully black and white, the one for the European Elections will have the candidate details listed down in the official party colour.
What are the most helpful cues for you?
Now that you know what a ballot sheet looks like, you need to remember which are the most helpful parts of it. The image opposite illustrates different points you should take notice of.
- Over here, you will have the name of the Party the candidates in the table below it belong to.
- Over here, you will have the relative Party emblem or logo.
- Over here, you will see the photo of the candidate in question.
- This is the box where you will mark the ranking you want to give to that candidate.
- Over here you will have listed the name and surname of the relative candidate, the address where they reside, and followed by their profession.
Now that I know what is what, how do I cast my vote?
Now that you know what the ballot sheet looks like, and what the markings on it represent, you are ready to start marking it. But beware, there are rules here that you need to follow.
- You need to make sure that you do not mark anywhere outside of the boxes specifically made for voting. Doing so will immediately invalidate your vote.
- You need to make sure that you write clear numbers and in the center of the boxes, without touching the outline of the boxes. This will facilitate further the newly introduced electronic counting method.
- The numbers need to be written in a specific way, as you can see below (yes, we’re going back to pre-school basics). Writing the numbers in any other variation than the ones below will also invalidate your vote!
Never mark your ballot with an ‘X’
If you decide to mark your favourite candidates with an ‘X’ you will immediately invalidate your vote.
If you made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world
If you’ve made a mistake, simply leave your cubicle and ask the electoral commission appointees in at your polling station to give you a new ballot sheet. Make sure that you cross off the old ballot sheet.
Do I need to vote for all of candidates?
The simple answer here is no, you do not need to vote for all of them, however, if you want to, you can. You can decide to go in and just vote ‘1’ for a specific candidate, you can vote for two candidates, or three, or four. Keep on going until you feel like you should stop.
Is it true that if it isn’t a block vote, it doesn’t count?
Untrue. Parties will persist on block voting for political reasons but you have a right to shift between parties and independent candidates if that is what you want. In the same way as you have a right to block vote a specific party.
Am done with my vote…what now?
Now that you have marked your ballot sheet properly and are ready to leave, you can fold your ballot sheet in a maximum of 2 folds (very important!) and put it in the relative box. Remember you will have 2 ballot sheets, so be careful to put the relevant ballot sheet in the relevant boxes.
And voila, you have now Stepped up for Europe and Made it Count by casting your vote!
(This article was written by JCI Malta)