jtiblog

Blogsite of the Institute for Legal Studies

Analysis of governmental proposals for changes to the Polish electoral law in the field of voter records – the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

2022. November 14. 10:41
Paweł Daroszewski
Law student, Jagiellonian University of Cracow, Poland
Analysis of governmental proposals for changes to the Polish electoral law in the field of voter records – the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

On October 19 this year, a draft act to amend the Electoral Code and certain other acts with the number UD457, submitted by the Minister of Digital Affairs, appeared in the list of legislative works of the government. The most important change to be introduced by the bill under discussion is the establishment of the Central Register of Voters. On the basis of the currently binding Electoral Code, Poland has a decentralized voter registration system. Currently, each municipality is obliged (Article 18 § 11 of the Electoral Code) to keep a register of voters, which includes persons entitled to vote permanently residing in a municipality, and to draw up the electoral roll before each election (Article 26 § 10 of the Electoral Code), which contains a list of persons entitled to vote in voting circuit within the municipality. One of the reasons for the fiasco of correspondence voting in the presidential elections in Poland ordered on May 10, 2020 was the failure to submit the election lists to the Polish Post Office, which, according to the Act of April 6, 2020, was to be responsible for organizing the voting. The current voter registration system will be completely changed if the draft act presented by the government enters into force.

How to resist political pressure against a constitutional court? – report on an eventful week of the WCCJ in Indonesia

2022. November 04. 11:11
Zsolt Szabó
associate professor, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary
How to resist political pressure against a constitutional court? – report on an eventful week of the WCCJ in Indonesia

Just about one month before the G20 summit, another important global event took place silently in Bali: the World Conference on Constitutional Justice (WCCJ) met for the fifth time between 4-7 October on the Island of Gods. As probably known by the readers, the WCCJ, together with the Venice Commission and ten regional groups of constitutional courts, is one of the most important formats of global constitutional dialogue between constitutional judges. Operating since 2009, it unites today 119 constitutional courts and equivalent institutions from all continents. Notable outsiders are – for various reasons – the UK, the USA China, and since 5th October, Russia, who terminated its membership on the opening day of the congress. According to its statute, the WCCJ is committed to promote “constitutional justice – namely constitutional review including human rights case-law – as a key element for democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law.” A solemn, all-in-one declaration that no civilized human being can reject. 

Do We Need a Neutral State in the Election Campaign?

2022. October 27. 13:25
Luca Sevaracz
PhD student, SZTE Faculty of Law
Do We Need a Neutral State in the Election Campaign?

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all four countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) of the so-called Visegrád Group (also known as Visegrád Four or simply V4) have held their elections. In the following, I shall shortly introduce the postponed Polish presidential elections and the Czech and Hungarian parliamentary elections in the spirit of neutrality of public authorities in the election campaign. Moreover, the Slovakian parliamentary elections held shortly before the rising of the global pandemic will be also mentioned.

The Visegrád Group and Covid-induced election postponement: A slight sacrifice for safety?

2022. October 13. 9:52
Kristóf Gál
Law Student, ELTE Faculty of Law
The Visegrád Group and Covid-induced election postponement: A slight sacrifice for safety?

Covid-19’s effect on individuals’ fundamental rights cannot simply be overstated.  This also concerns one of the most influential rights a citizen has and that is the right to vote. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was unclear to us as to how the incumbent crisis managing governments will undertake the task of organizing elections (thus potentially getting re-elected), as limiting the epidemiological risk was at the forefront of all governmental agendas around the world. It sure was a dilemma as nationwide one-day elections are substantial social events, and personal contact can hardly be eliminated, this results in the virus spreading faster than prior the elections, but on the other hand political power under the law is neither unlimited in time nor in substance, therefore democratic societies hold elections at predetermined intervals prescribed by law. Hungarian lawyer, political scientist and former president of the Constitutional Court Mihály Bihari holds that: "The people have sovereignty because the source of all state power is the electorate."(pp 2.) This obligation to hold elections resulted in occasions in which the external circumstances either did not allow for the vote to go ahead, thus it had to be postponed, or held amid the pandemic. International Idea Institute provides a wide range of statistics about Covid-19 and election postponement, their work serves as a cornerstone for this blogpost.

Hungarian roundtable on the impact of Covid19 on the electoral framework

2022. October 12. 7:53
Boldizsár Szentgáli-Tóth
Senior Research Fellow, CSS ILS
Hungarian roundtable on the impact of Covid19 on the electoral framework

On 23 June 2022, as part of the research project IVF 22120065. funded by the International Visegrad Fund, aiming to analyse the impact of the global pandemic on the V4 countries’ electoral framework, a policy roundtable was held in a hybrid format to discuss the Hungarian experience on this matter. Four speakers were invited to the roundtable: Dániel Döbrentey, the Project Leader of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union; János Mécs, Project Leader of the Association of European Election Officers; Attila Nagy, the president of the Hungarian National Electoral Office; and Emese Szilágyi, the Electoral Observer of the OSCE ODIHR Election Observation Mission to Hungary 2022. The panellists raised a number of paramount issues concerning the latest electoral development in Hungary and its link with the public health concerns, and this was followed by the comments of the audience, which included also the questions of the colleagues joining online from the Jagiellonian University of Cracow. The organisers aimed to foster an interdisciplinary legal discourse amongst the representatives of various interested actors; this was the leading consideration when the invited speakers were selected from the National Electoral Office, from a Hungarian NGO, from an international electoral network and from an international electoral observer mission. The roundtable was moderated by Boldizsár Szentgáli-Tóth, the senior research fellow of the Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies.

Report from the roundtable on the impact of COVID-19 on Czech elections and electoral law

2022. August 15. 8:25
Gor Vartazaryan
Law student, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Report from the roundtable on the impact of COVID-19 on Czech elections and electoral law

As part of the international research project funded by the International Visegrad Fund, an English-language roundtable on hybrid format from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Czech elections and electoral law. was organized on 29 June 2022 by doctor Jan Grinc and associate professor Marek Antoš at Charles University, Faculty of Law, Prague. Experts in the field of constitutional law such as prof. Jan Wintr, associate professor Jan Kudrna, doctor Ondřej Preuss attended the roundtable as well as the Director of the Department of Elections at the Ministry of the Interior Tomáš Jírovec, who presented insight from the Department of Elections and other experts.

Report on Policy Roundtable: “Crises and democracy: the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on V4 countries’ electoral systems”

2022. August 05. 9:45
Paulina Jablonska
Law student, Jagiellonian University of Cracow, Poland
Report on Policy Roundtable: “Crises and democracy: the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on V4 countries’ electoral systems”

On 30 June 2022, at the Jagiellonian University Centre for Interdisciplinary Constitutional Studies, a roundtable discussion on “Crises and democracy: the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on V4 countries’ electoral systems” was held on a hybrid format, online participants joined via Webex. It was organised as a Polish Policy Roundtable within the Visegrad research project. The seminar was dedicated to the 2020 presidential elections in Poland and their implications for assessing the integrity of the electoral process and the state of democracy. In the opening remarks, Professor Monika Florczak-Wątor, Head of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Constitutional Studies, welcomed all participants on behalf of the seminar organisers. Then Boldizsár Szentgáli-Tóth, PhD, the principal investigator of the aforementioned project, presented the main idea of the research project and the policy roundtables on Covid and elections.

Report from the Slovak Roundtable on Constitutional Limits to the Right to Vote under the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic

2022. July 25. 9:08
Dominika Kuchárová
Law and Philosophy Student, University of Trnava, Slovakia
Report from the Slovak Roundtable on Constitutional Limits to the Right to Vote under the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic

On June 30, 2022, we held an online Roundtable on the impact of the pandemic on the right to vote in Slovakia. During the meeting, many interesting ideas were expressed, in which the participants focused on the elections taking place in Slovakia during the pandemic. The importance and originality of this meeting is due to the uniqueness of the topic, which has affected and will continue to affect Slovakia. Fortunately, Slovakia has only experienced by-elections to local government bodies. However, these have brought restrictions on the right to vote. The right to vote is regulated in detail and systematically at the statutory level, namely in Act No. 180/2014 Coll. on the conditions for exercising the right to vote and Act No. 181/2014 Coll. on the election campaign. In order to avoid the same situation in the next elections, the legislators came up with a solution to create a law on the special way of voting, and thus, on 10 May 2022, the Government Bill No. 185/2022 Coll. was adopted.

How has the pandemic affected electoral issues in Slovakia?

2022. June 27. 10:50
Dominika Kuchárová
Law and Philosophy Student, University of Trnava, Slovakia
How has the pandemic affected electoral issues in Slovakia?

The dramatic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, just like other large-scale emergencies, disrupted lives, businesses and communities worldwide as governments responded with extraordinary measures to battle the spread of the virus. While non-pharmaceutical interventions that limit mobility and isolate potentially infected people are designed to keep the pandemic at bay, they also clash with the cornerstone of democracy: regular, free and fair elections. The public discourse over holding massive, in-person elections amid the growing pandemic has been highly contentious in numerous countries.

Czech Chamber of Deputies elections in 2021 in the shadow of the covid-19 pandemic

2022. June 02. 15:05
Richard Beran
Law Student, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law
Czech Chamber of Deputies elections in 2021 in the shadow of the covid-19 pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic is a topic that has been with us for more than two years and has left an indelible mark on our lives in all areas, including public discourse. It is no different in constitutional and electoral law, where in an unprecedented situation, most of the governments have had to deal with the electoral process in such a way as to uphold the principles of electoral law while at the same time protecting public health as much as possible.

Voting at embassies and consulates during the 2022 parliamentary elections in Hungary - New problems caused, and long-existing concerns intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic

2022. May 10. 11:55
Judit Takács
Law Student, ELTE Faculty of Law
Voting at embassies and consulates during the 2022 parliamentary elections in Hungary - New problems caused, and long-existing concerns intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic

On 3 April 2022 Hungary organised its first parliamentary elections since the appearance of COVID-19. As the country had not staged any general elections during the pandemic before, this was the first time that it had to face and answer to the new challenges of conducting a general vote under the special conditions entailed by the public health emergency. (Nonetheless, by-elections had been held since the beginning of the pandemic, before the 2022 general elections, like the parliamentary by-elections in October 2020 in Tiszaújváros. Besides, the April elections were not the only ones held in 2022 either, as on 8 May 2022 by-elections of some mayors were conducted in eleven smaller settlements. Those by-elections were originally scheduled to November 2020 but were postponed due to the announcement of the second stage of state of emergency under the pandemic.) The coronavirus related problems practically cover the whole electoral process, including the election campaign, sanitary concerns at the polling stations, the method of ballot counting, exercising the right to vote under quarantine or voting from abroad.

Primary election in the shadow of the pandemic

2022. April 19. 9:51
Lili Karácsony
Law Student, ELTE Faculty of Law
Primary election in the shadow of the pandemic

The coronavirus disease (COVID19) posed unprecedented challenges to our society in all aspects of life. It caused enormous changes in our everyday routines, but it also presented grave challenges to the governments of all countries and raised several questions related to the faults of legislative solutions. Within a few days, the world as we knew it changed completely, and even the most common activities became sources of danger, and therefore required rapid and efficient regulations. Many fundamental rights had to be re-evaluated and limited in favour of society’s interest that undoubtedly had significant impacts on elections as well. 

AI-Driven Healthcare Technologies and Algorithmic Gender Bias: A Need for Data Feminism - An Overview of Pin Lean Lau’s Seminar Talk at TK MILAB

2022. March 28. 12:19
Márton Vida
BA student, CEU
AI-Driven Healthcare Technologies and Algorithmic Gender Bias: A Need for Data Feminism - An Overview of Pin Lean Lau’s Seminar Talk at TK MILAB

Pin Lean Lau held the final talk of the Artificial Intelligence National Laboratory (MILAB) online seminar series in 2021. She is a researcher at the Brunel University of London, and holds a PhD in Law from Central European University. She introduced an ongoing project of hers concerning the regulation of AI bias in healthcare. Her main goal was to explore how AI bias may occur in healthcare technologies, and how such biases may be avoided through better regulation and data science.

'Do you feel in charge?' Underlying assumptions behind legal information retrieval - An Overview of Jakub Harašta Seminar at TK MILAB

2022. March 21. 14:40
Rand Al Hussaini
trainee, CSS ILS
'Do you feel in charge?' Underlying assumptions behind legal information retrieval - An Overview of Jakub Harašta Seminar at TK MILAB

As part of the TK MILAB online research seminar series, Jakub Harašta held a seminar on the issue of legal information retrieval, focusing on the assumptions behind legal information retrieval, his main argument was whether the retrieved information has any useful value or relevance to the users, how the data are presented to the users, and how the assumptions can be communicated. In addition, the question of transparency and the necessity it holds. Consequently, he advocated the need for data feminism. Intersectional feminism, he asserts, can reorient the way we think about and manage algorithmic data in healthcare, as well as challenge and modify power differentials that impact bias and under-representation dynamics.

In Search of Effectiveness and Fairness in Proving Algorithmic Discrimination in EU law - An Overview of Ljupcho Grozdanovski’s Seminar at TK MILAB

2021. August 09. 22:32
Márton Vida
CEU, BA student
In Search of Effectiveness and Fairness in Proving Algorithmic Discrimination in EU law - An Overview of Ljupcho Grozdanovski’s Seminar at TK MILAB

As part of the TK MILAB - Institute for Legal Studies research seminar series, Ljupcho Grozdanovski held a seminar on the legal issues of proving discrimination as caused by the use of AI. Focusing on proof and evidence, his main argument was that current EU law fails to satisfy the requirement of effectiveness on the side of the claimants, and that of fairness on the side of the respondents. As a result, he advocated the lifting of algorithmic opacity and a revision of the notion of human agency, so that the requirements of a fair trial and due process are met.

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