Tuesday, October 21, 2014

High-schools will host ballot boxes on November 9 and 26,000 volunteers have already signed up

The Catalan Government is disclosing further organization details of the alternative participatory process that will take place on the 9th of November, which is replacing the original non-binding referendum vote that was banned by Spanish authorities. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, announced that 26,372 volunteers had already signed up on Monday afternoon to help in the organization of the 9th of November's vote. 20,000 were initially required, but Homs announced that registration will remain open because "the greater amount of resources we have, the better". In addition, high-schools will be the 700 Catalan Government's venues that will host the 6,000 voting booths, where people will be casting their vote on whether they want an independent Catalan State or not. In the small rural towns and villages without high-schools, the Catalan Government is talking with municipalities to find alternatives. Several town halls have already offered alternative venues to host the ballot boxes.

The Catalan Government and town halls are working to find the way by which ballot boxes are present in the 947 municipalities of Catalonia. The initial plan was to use only Catalan Government's venues to host the polling booths, using mainly high-schools. However, such venues do not exist in the smallest rural towns and mountain villages. 

On Monday and Tuesday, territorial delegates of the Catalan Executive are meeting with municipal representatives to find alternatives. The idea is that mayors should propose an alternative venue, owned by the town hall. 97% of the existing municipalities in Catalonia approved motions supporting the original non-binding referendum vote scheduled on the 9th of November, despite the ban of the Spanish authorities. 
It is not clear whether all of them will also be backing the alternative and light-version announced last week by the Catalan Government to replace the original call. However it is expected that almost all of them will back it. The Catalan Government already has 700 voting venues of its own, but it aims to add more to the list. The definitive list will be known "this week", confirmed Homs.

This new participatory process will need the active involvement of 20,000 volunteers, 3,500 of which should be civil servants, to run the polling stations and count the votes. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, announced that by 6.50pm on Monday, 26,372 people had already registered as volunteers in order to work in the voting venues. Homs added that the exact role of the volunteers will be known "this week". In addition, he confirmed that the online registration will be kept open for a few days in order to have a greater number of volunteers as "the greater number of resources we have, the better".

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