There is a problem with signing up for the cannabis referendum

September 30 will be the last day to submit to the Court of Cassation the registers with the signatures of the hundreds of thousands of people who have adhered to the proposal for a referendum on the legalization of cannabis, but about 1,400 municipalities have not yet sent to the promoting committee. the electoral certificates necessary to validate the signatures collected digitally through the SPID system. Three days after the deadline for submitting signatures to the Supreme Court, only about 125,000 certificates arrived, a quarter of those needed.

On 18 September, the promoters, including the Luca Coscioni association, announced that they had collected the 500,000 signatures required by the Constitution to hold a referendum in just one week. The collection of signatures had been facilitated by the recent possibility of using digital signatures to sign a referendum proposal.

To validate the digitally collected signatures, however, it is necessary that the municipal administrations “certify” them, or that they confirm that the person who signed is registered on the electoral roll and can therefore participate in the referendum. On 21 September the promoters of the referendum had sent the request for certification of signatures to the interested municipalities via PEC (certified e-mail), with an obligation to reply within 48 hours.

– Read also: Is it too easy to organize referendums with digital signatures?

They had sent 37,300 emails, each containing from 2 to 20 names of signatories, requesting the relevant certificates. On Friday 24 September, however, only 28,600 emails were answered, for a total of about 125,000 certificates. Marco Cappato of the Luca Coscioni association explained that if the certifications do not arrive by September 30, and if the government does not grant an extension of the deadline, the referendum could not take place because the promoting committee could not deliver the signatures to the Court of Cassation. .

Cappato accused the municipalities of “sabotage” of the referendum, and called a hunger strike to protest and a garrison in front of Palazzo Chigi and in front of the defaulting municipalities for 28 September. On Monday he said that, also thanks to the pressure received, many defaulting municipalities

to send the certificates. The association’s website has removed a previously published list of the municipalities involved, to give the administrations time to respond to the request of the promoters.

Antonio Decaro, mayor of Bari and president of ANCI, the association of Italian municipalities, urged his fellow mayors to speed up the paperwork and to send signature certifications for the cannabis referendum as soon as possible. At the same time, however, he stressed that he will verify “with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice possible solutions to deal with this” democratic emergency “which cannot fall only on the shoulders of the mayors”.

The so-called “simplification decree bis” of last July, the same that had made it possible to collect signatures electronically, had postponed the deadline for submitting the latter to the Supreme Court to 31 October, instead of 30 September, due to of the health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the extension only applies to referendum questions filed with the Supreme Court by June 15 (such as the referendum on euthanasia, for example). The referendum on legal cannabis was instead filed with the Supreme Court only in September, and therefore is effectively excluded from the extension. The promoters of the referendum then asked the Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia to intervene to extend the extension.

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