In a press conference, Tuesday, Justice Mahmoud Abu-Shusha, spokesman for the Supreme Elections Committee (SEC), refuted allegations by the National Salvation Front of vote rigging in the first round of the constitutional referendum.
"There is a hostile campaign against the referendum and its supervising judges. In fact, judges overseeing the vote are certainly above any doubt. This talk about fraud and violations is completely void, impossible to happen. There is an absurd and irrational campaign waged against the judges."
Justice Abu-Shusha looked into complaints to SEC, and pointed that the most serious are allegations that persons who were not members of the judiciary replaced judges in supervising certain polling stations. He denounced those claims and affirmed the impossibility of such violations actually taking place.
He further pointed to a complaint about a shortage of administrative employees, and said that the number of those employees would be increased in preparation for the second phase.
He also explained that SEC addressed the issue of delays in opening voting places in the morning, due to the late arrival of judges, by extending the voting period by 3 hours, until eleven in the evening, to make up for the lost time.
One of the complaints received by SEC was about ballots not carrying the official seal of the Judge. Abu-Shusha said the stamp was only complementary, since the voter’s ID card should suffice to ensure casting ballots only once.
Regarding a complaint about judges to let observers into polling stations, SEC spokesman said: "The instructions of SEC were clear on monitoring. Reporters were allowed to enter and monitor the voting process by simply showing their union or agency ID card.
"As for allegation that some voting stations were unexpectedly merged together, in fact, no such stations were changed. They all stayed as they were in the recent Presidential elections."
Moreover, Abu-Shusha revealed that SEC Chairman canceled the results of a sub-committee in Dakahlia province after the judge overseeing it closed the doors before eleven in the evening, despite knowing of the voting period extension.
He condemned the attitude of some citizens who demanded to see judges’ IDs to prove they were real judges, saying: "Citizens need not see any IDs to prove anyone is a member of the judiciary within polling places. Those supervising voting stations are the only personnel who have the ballot books. They can only get those from SEC, which hands them only to judges after confirming the judge’s identity."
Ultimately, SEC spokesman stressed that as long as the person in charge of the polling place has valid ballot books, his identity is thereby confirmed.
"We are determined all votes go where they belong. We are working very hard to close any doors of doubt."
For his part, Dr. Mohamed Eliwa, member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council, said in a statement: "National Salvation Front members, with their allegations as refuted by SEC, have lost all credibility. They have proved that they run a secret campaign against the referendum after their utter disappointment at the results of the first phase".