Trzaskowski may lose key supporters due to holiday voter rules - press

Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

Voters who changed their polling stations before the June 28 first round of Polish presidential elections, most of them supporting presidential challenger Rafal Trzaskowski, may find themselves barred from voting in the run-off, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reports.

Trzaskowski, a centrist candidate supported by the main opposition bloc, the Civic Coalition, is running against incumbent President Andrzej Duda, who is backed by the ruling party, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS).

According to current election rules, the daily writes, voters who changed their polling station online before the first round of the election have no possibility to change it back before the second round of voting. Thousands of voters made the move before June 28 to be able to vote while on holiday and have since returned to their homes.

However, to change their designated polling station back to their place of residence, they would have to go back to the holiday destination, as they are required by law to request this reversal this in person, not online. Their original online request affects both rounds of the election.

Campaign staffs of both candidates believe a vast majority of those voters would back Trzaskowski. "We estimate the support for Trzaskowski in this group at three out of four voters," a PiS politician told Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

In all, about 400,000 voters changed their polling stations online before the first round, including 209,714 in Poland.

This group could in fact determine whether Trzaskowski will win or lose, as opinion polls point to a very tight race between the two candidates.

According to the State Electoral Commission (PKW), Poland's election body, there is no possibility to rectify the problem before the run-off vote. "The State Electoral Commission has no possibility to introduce any facilitation before the second round, as this would require legislative changes," the daily was told by Magdalena Pietrzak of the PKW's office.