“The definitive figures of the requests to vote by mail leave no doubt about the attempt of massive electoral fraud,” according to the investigators of the Judicial Police of the Superior Headquarters of Melilla. The autonomous city has closed the period for postal vote applications with 11,002 requests, 19.94% of the census of the autonomous city. More than double that in the 2019 elections. Well above the national average, which is around 2.84% according to the latest data, or Ceuta, in which requests to vote by mail have been 3.3% .
In the end, the fears of the Ministry of the Interior that led to the opening of an investigation by the National Police and the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 2 of Melilla and the intervention of the Zone Electoral Board (JEZ) and the Central Electoral Board (JEC) have been confirmed: the mafia behind this huge fraud attempt has taken over a fifth of the city’s census, which has a total of 55,187 resident citizens with the right to vote.
Some ballots, estimate the investigation commanders, which would be more than enough to decide the elections in Melilla, since they could suppose between eight and ten seats in an assembly of 25 representatives.
However, the Ministry of the Interior believes that the fraud will not be as far-reaching and that it has been partly neutralized with the requirement of the JEZ to claim the DNI of anyone who delivers a ballot to the Melilla Post Office and the decision of the JEC to also require documentation in the rest of Spain from any person who intends to cast a postal vote for the Melilla constituency.
Article without effect
In the department headed by Fernando Grande-Marlaska, they estimate that the quick and unprecedented decision of the JEZ and the JEC to momentarily leave article 73 of the Organic Law of the General Electoral Regime without effect would have stopped part of the fraud strategy. It is this precept that does not include the obligation to present the DNI when delivering the vote at the Post Office, as is contemplated in article 72 of that same regulation at the time of requesting the vote or receiving the electoral documentation from the mailman.
Thus, of the 11,002 requests, only 761 have been deposited until Thursday afternoon at the Post Office, 161 of them outside of Melilla. In fact, on Thursday, shortly before the deadline to request postal suffrage, the queues at the only Post Office in the city (both to request the ballots and to deliver them) practically disappeared as the endorsement of the ballots was known. electoral boards to demand documentation from anyone who deposited votes for the Assembly of Melilla, both in the North African city and in the rest of the national territory.
Now, the fear is that the plot may try to register the thousands of votes that it has bought and has not been able to deposit in Melilla in offices on the peninsula, particularly in Andalusia, where the controls in the offices before votes in the Melilla constituency are not as strict as in the autonomous city, despite the instructions of the JEC, since packages of dozens of ballots from different constituencies are sometimes presented.
For this reason, Interior has reinforced the controls at the port, airport and border points with Morocco to follow any of the 32 members of the alleged plot that are under the radar of the Police. All of them, explain those responsible for the investigation, are petty criminals that the network would have commissioned to locate and recruit members of vulnerable families in Melilla to buy their vote by mail for amounts ranging between 50 and 200 euros. Virtually entire neighborhoods, the researchers say, would have agreed to sell their votes.
It is not the first time that the shadow of vote-by-mail fraud has taken hold in Melilla. In February 2021, the Supreme Court confirmed the two-year prison sentence of the former president of Melilla and leader of the Coalition for Melilla (CPM), Mustafa Aberchán, and the former general secretary of the PSOE of Melilla Dionisio Muñoz Pérez for buying votes for mail in the 2008 Senate elections.
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