For a truly free and equal vote

During the European parliamentary elections, approximately 10% of Italians saw their vote invalidated because the party they voted for did not reach the electoral threshold -- a mechanism that violates the principle of equal voting.

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
For a truly free and equal vote - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Among the deputies that Italy has elected to the European Parliament, not even one will represent +Europa-Italia in Comune, Europa Verde, the Italian Left, the Italian Communist Party and so on. Because none of these parties has reached the barrier threshold, set at 4% in Italy.

Essentially, 10% of the overall voting population, all of those who ticked the box besides the above-mentioned parties, will see their choice canceled.

This is a clear violation of the principle of equal voting, enshrined in the Constitution by Art. 48 ("The vote is personal and equal, free and secret"). Not only does this influence voters' decisions, namely by making them consider if their party of choice will cross this threshold, but it also means that, when a party doesn't reach the threshold, it is as if those who voted for it had never gone to vote.

Why not include a "second choice"  on the voting ballot?

The voter chooses her first choice and then indicates a second one; if the "first choice" reaches the threshold the vote is counted, but if it falls below then the second choice is counted.

This would guarantee a truly "free and equal" vote. All the more so considering that, in other European countries, citizens vote in the same elections without any electoral threshold!

Details from the story:

  • From May 23 to May 26, EU citizens went to the polls to elect the 751 MEPs of the 2019-2024 parliament.
  • Each country has its own electoral system for EU parliamentary elections. In Italy, it is a proportional electoral system with a 4% threshold and the possibility of preferential voting.
  • Italy saw Lega reach 34%, the 5-Star Movement collapsed to 17% and the Democratic Party reached 22%.
  • Compared to national elections a year ago, when it took 17% of the votes, Lega doubled its support. In comparison with the European elections five years ago, its rise is unprecedented: in 2014 it had only 6.2% of the votes.
  • The Democrats, under Nicola Zingaretti's leadership, took 22.71%, going up four points from last year's elections (a long way down from when they exceeded 40% in 2014).
  • 5 Stars, on the other hand, fell to 17%: only a year ago it led the polls with 32% of the votes, while they had 21% in the 2014 European elections.
  • Those who remain excluded because they did reach the 4% threshold: + Europa-Italia in Comune (3.1%); Europa Verde (2.3%); La Sinistra (at 1.7%); the Communist Party of Italy (0.88%) and others.
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