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News 20 Sep 12

Net Makes Big Inroads Into Montenegro Election

Voters can find out whether they are on the electoral roll simply by sending an SMS or looking on the Internet - though some NGOs say they have uncovered glitches.

Milena Milosevic BIRN Podgorica

Montenegrins who want to check up on whether they can vote in the October 14 general election can now do so by sending an SMS with their ID number to a number, it was announced on Tuesday.

They can also check up by visiting the Internet page of the central electoral roll of Montenegro.

By entering their ID number into this web platform, more than 32,000 voters have already learned whether they can cast ballots.

The Network for Affirmation of Non-Governmental Sector, MANS, an NGO, however, says errors in the electoral roll still leave room for voter manipulation.

On Wednesday it said it had already found hundreds of voters who appeared to have the right to vote at two polling stations, among other glitches.

The Ministry for Information Society and Technology denied the errors, saying that civil society groups were basing their claims on incomplete and inaccurate information.

The Ministry added that all the political parties can track changes to the electoral roll by visiting a special website designed for election contenders in contrast to the one designed for the voters.

Montenegro's last general election in 2009 saw the growing use of social networks in the campaign, primarily Facebook, which was then fast gaining popularity in the country.

The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, has gone furthest step in use of the Internet.

This summer it organized the vote for the delegates to the party's youth congress online. It did the same for elections to its youth councils in the capital, Podgorica.

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