All measures are taken to ensure voters’ anonymity and confidentiality during the presidential election next week, the chief returning office said on Wednesday as he announced how people with disabilities can cast their vote.

With a view to conducting fair and objective elections, all appropriate measures are being taken to make sure people’s vote remains anonymous, the announcement said.

It added that it’s the voters responsibility to check whether the ballot paper given to them at the polling station bears the official stamp, otherwise their vote will be invalid. Ballot papers are issued on white security paper for the whole of Cyprus.

After receiving a ballot paper the voter can enter the voting booth to exercise their right to vote.

Blue and black pens will be available at the polling stations and voters are urged to use those so votes cannot be linked to voters. Any votes cast in a colour other than those two ink colours will be invalid.

The voting booths will not have curtains in line with the sanitary measures but will be positioned in such a way as to preserve voter privacy.

Therefore, the announcement added, voters should be assured that in no case can their identity be verified.

It also highlighted how the administrative and legislative arrangements are such as to ensure complete anonymity of the vote, particularly those of sensitive groups of the population, such as prisoners.

The chief returning officer explained that people with visual impairment or other physical disabilities can either vote by themselves or request assistance from the presiding officers. They may also appoint a person they trust to vote for them.

Citing the electoral legislation, the statement noted that on the eve and day of the election, it is prohibited to transmit, advertise or publish any news related to the presidential candidates while no meetings, speeches and debates must take place.

Under the electoral law, posting of billboards of presidential candidates and the publication of the results of polls or exit polls are also forbidden.

This excludes newspapers, published on the eve of the election, which may only publish news from the previous day’s election rallies.

Violators of the above provisions are guilty of a criminal offence and, in the event of conviction, are subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine of up to €5,000 or both penalties together.