Signature collection for electoral candidates during the pandemic: solutions and alternative mechanisms
The collection of signatures is a democratic exercise whereby voters support voluntarily a certain candidate for an elective position or the initiation of a referendum. For a candidate to join an electoral race – the condition to collect signatures represents a filter based on voters’ support. For the initiation of the referendum – it represents an evidence of citizens’ will to initiate a consultation among the population.
Signature collection is an important stage of the electoral process. Given that the organisation of elections or referenda implies certain expenses, the candidates – in almost all countries – are required to collect signatures in order to be registered in the electoral race. In this regard, the signature collection is a mechanism that guarantees the substantiated intentions of those who want to participate in the elections, and a guarantee that the state will not incur additional financial costs during the organisation of elections, respectively.
In Moldova too, candidates running for an elective position are requared to submit signatures collecting list with a sufficient number of signatures of their supporters in order to be able to apply for registration in the electoral race. As opposed to presidential elections, in the case of local and parliamentary elections, independent candidates are treated unfairly compared to the candidates nominated by political parties or electoral blocs because only independent candidates are required to collect signatures in support of their own candidacy.
This analysis by the Promo-LEX Association aims to present the key challenges and solutions to the current mechanism of collection of signatures in support of a candidate for an elective position from the perspective of international practice. The need for the study was particularly determined by the risks generated by the pandemic, but the solutions proposed can be implemented even when the epidemiological issues are solved.