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Curia Upholds Fine Against Human Rights NGO for Campaigning to Invalidate Votes

picture of person invalidating vote

Hungary’s highest court, the Curia, has rejected a request for review of a fine levied on the Background Society by the National Election Commission (NVB). NVB imposed a 3 million Ft. (US $8,600) fine against the human-rights NGO for its campaign to encourage voters to invalidate the government’s child protection referendum, reported the state news agency.

NVB, after receiving a complaint, ruled that the Background Society had violated the provisions relating to the proper right to exercise the Election Law in good faith when it encouraged voters to invalidate their referendum ballots.

The election board claimed that the referendum campaign should not be intended to incite voters to cast an invalid vote, “because this not only tears apart, but also breaks through the constitutional goal of a direct exercise of power and the legislative will behind it.” NVB stated that this act therefore constitutes an abusive exercise of the law, and obliged the Background Company to pay a 3 million Ft. fine.

The NGO then filed a petition for judicial review with the Curia, arguing that urging voters to legally cast an invalid vote was not at all contrary to the purpose of referendum-related campaign activity, and therefore not contrary to the purpose of the referendum campaign.

However, the Curia rejected the request for review without a substantive examination on Wednesday, noting that “the submission [by the Background Society] did not contain a substantive argument, and did not indicate the specific context upon which it based NVB’s decision as infringing.”

[Népszava][Image: Amnesty International Magyarország / Facebook]

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