The Mayor of Turre, Arturo Grima, has been allegedly caught out by the opposition PSOE party in a postal vote scam.
According to a complaint filed today with the electoral board and the Guardia Civil by the PSOE, they not only have witnesses who say they were approached by Grima with offers to buy their postal votes, but they also have pictures of Grima posting some 80 votes in the Mojácar post office.
The PSOE say that they were made aware of the actions of Grima after a post office employee contacted them to say what he had done. The post office employee has also fulfilled his duties by filing a complaint with the Guardia Civil and his superiors.
According to post office stats, a large number of the postal votes this year have been registered to an office in the townhall, and the house of a senior PP member.
Grima was interviewed by local newspaper Almeria Hoy and did not deny the actions, but said he had done nothing illegal or morally wrong. He told the paper:
Los votos pertenecen a amigos y simpatizantes que los entregan personalmente a miembros de la candidatura; en algunos casos se trata de personas mayores; en otros, de vecinos con movilidad reducida; algunos incluso se han hecho ante notario. Es perfectamente legal, y es más, se trata de una práctica común a todos los partidos y municipios… ¿O qué es lo que ha hecho el PSOE con los votos que les han llevado sus simpatizantes? ¿Tirarlos? ¿Rechazarlos? said Grima. Lo que le sucede al PSOE es que le gustaría contar con tantos simpatizantes como nosotros. Lo único que siente es que no fuesen 700 u 800 votos, en lugar de 70 u 80.
The votes belong to friends and supporters who have personally handed them over to party members; in some cases they belong to elderly people, in others to disabled people and some have even signed in front of a notary. It is all perfectly legal and what is more this is a common practise carried out by all parties in all towns… Or what does PSOE do with the votes handed over by their supporters? Throw them away? Reject them? What happens is that the PSOE would like to have as many supporters as we do. The only thing I regret is that they weren’t 700 or 800 votes, instead of 70 or 80.
If the complaint is accepted then all postal votes will be seized by the Authorities after counting them in order to aid with the investigation. However, the PSOE point out that it is illegal for anyone to post a vote that is not theirs; people physically unable to get to a post office can request a free pickup service or use a local notary to witness their vote.