Misleading claims of ‘rigged’ postal votes emerge ahead of Italian elections

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Misleading claims of ‘voter rigging’ are shared online before Italian legislative elections on Sunday.

Viral videos have falsely suggested that overseas postal votes would be rigged to favor certain political parties.

In a clip on Facebook, a man claims that two populist parties were illegally excluded from the ballot. Euronews has checked the facts.

In the video, the user claims that ballots and ballots were sent to his address in Lugano, Switzerland by the local Italian consulate.

He opens the envelope and shows the list of parties on the ballots, saying that the candidates of Torniamo alla Costituzione, Italexit and Vita have been discarded. All three populist parties are known for their Eurosceptic views and have previously shared debunked conspiracy theories.

But according to Consulate General of Italythe three parties did not register enough signatures to present candidates for postal votes.

In Italy, postal voting is allowed for citizens who live abroad or who are out of the country for at least three months for work, study or medical reasons.

According to Italian electoral rules for foreign voters, parties must register between 500 and 1,000 signatures in each of the regions to be placed on the ballot for that region. The number of signatures drops to 250 in the event of an early election, as is the case in 2022.

One of the populist parties, Vita, has confirmed on Facebook that they did not obtain the necessary signatories to stand for election abroad. Therefore, their absence from the ballot in Lugano is not evidence of “vote rigging”.

The man also claims in the video that a publicity flyer for center-left Democratic Party (PD) candidates was included in the sealed envelope.

But footage shows the man’s letter had already been opened before he started filming, undermining the reliability of his claims. Journalists from the Italian service of Euronews in Lyon say they received a leaflet from the Democratic Party in an envelope separate from their ballot paper.

Luciano Vecchi, a PD official, said the charges were “clearly unfounded” and claims the video had been “manipulated”.

Euronews has contacted Italy’s electoral commission for a statement on the video allegations.

False allegations of voter fraud have already been shared online ahead of general elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

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