Referendum, how the platform to collect online signatures works

Referendum, how the platform to collect online signatures works


After years of waiting, the national platform for the collection of digital signatures has finally been online for a few days to sign the proposals for referendums and those of popular initiative law, so that they can then be subject to consultation. The one currently available is not yet the definitive version of the portal, which needs further improvements and updates, but it still represents a step forward compared to the transitional legislation active so far, which allowed the collection of signatures through private platforms, with costs borne by the promoting committees .

It took international judicial actions and official calls from the United Nations to Italy, to get the Italian State to overcome the collection of paper signatures. A path strongly supported and stimulated by the Luca Coscioni and Eumanas Association, including the hunger strike of its Italian coordinator, Lorenzo Mineo. Officially established with the budget law of December 2020, the new platform should have been active as early as January 2022, but in the end it was managed by November.

The signatures to present a referendum can be collected online Among the last acts of the Minister of Innovation Colao, the ok to the long-awaited platform to collect online the initials necessary to support a referendum proposal. A battle that saw Marco Cappato in the front row

How the platform works

The platform is organized into a private and a public area, which can be accessed via a dedicated portal, available at this link. Access is differentiated for three types of users: one for promoters of referendums or popular initiative laws, one for those who want to sign up to proposals and one for Court of Cassation personnel.

The  private area allows promoters to  manage the referendum proposal and monitor the progress of the collection of signatures. In this section it is possible to choose the type of initiative to register, ask for the proposal to be uploaded, see the preview, check the data entered and immediately start collecting signatures. While voters and electricians can use the private area, logging in with their digital identity, to sign up to a referendum proposal or popular initiative law, by clicking on an ad hoc button.

Finally, again through the area private, the staff of the Court of Cassation will have the necessary tools to activate and monitor the subscription collection process. The public area, on the other hand, will be used by citizens to consult the proposals filed, the related information, the number of signatures collected and the number necessary to reach the quorum.

The Kafkaesque story of blocking the digital collection of signatures for the elections The appeal presented by Marco Cappato's Referendum and Democracy list was rejected in Milan, after it was not admitted to the September 25 elections having collected signatures online. The judge says he cannot verify the signatures, but they are found in the electoral offices

What the platform is missing

Before the update of the legislation on the collection of signatures in digital format, Italy was condemned by the United Nations for violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, due to the serious obstacles posed to electoral participation by the previous 50-year-old legislation. However, the Luca Coscioni Association underlined how the current platform only partially compensates for the violations of international obligations that Italy should respect.

In fact, the portal only allows the collection of signatures for referendums and for popular initiative bills. While new legislative provisions have not yet been discussed or approved to authorize the digital collection of the signatures necessary to present the electoral lists for local, political or European elections. Furthermore, the platform has yet to receive the technical updates to effectively distinguish between different types of digital signatures and to strengthen the coupling of signatures and electoral certificates. In short, even if just born, the platform does not seem to be quite in step with the times, even if to improve it it would be enough to take an example from those already active in other countries, such as Germany, or like the participatory platform set up for the Conference on the future of> 'Europe.

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