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Update 2: Voter turnout at around 72 per cent

 

Turnout for the divorce referendum was around 72 per cent by the time voting came to an end, the Electoral Commission said.

This was the lowest turnout ever in Malta, well below the low 78.8 turnout in the 2009 MEP elections.

The 2004 MEP election had had a turnout of 82.4 per cent, the EU referendum – 90.9 per cent and the last General Electon – 93.3 per cent.

The Ballox boxes are currently arriving and being received at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

The boxes are being emptied and the ballots are being put face down in preparation for counting tomorrow.

The Electoral Commission yesterday confirmed that 20,775 voting documents remained uncollected, four times the number at the last general election.

Voting went smoothly in all localities. 

In Mellieha, elderly voters who needed assistance because they could not read the referendum question were apparently asked whether they would like to divorce, instead of whether they wanted to vote yes or no for divorce.

Although small queues were noted in some localities, voters did not generally have to wait long although those who had to cross over to Gozo to cast their vote had to queue for up to two hours as only two boats were in operation.

The country's leaders cast their vote early this morning, Archbishop Paul Cremona at 7.30.

This evening, the bishops issued a note apologising to anyone who may have been hurt by any words or actions taken by members of the Church during the referendum campaign.

They also stressed the need for collective investment in marriage.

The bishop's note was embargoed to 10 p.m. but the embargo was breached by Maltatoday leading the Church to lodge an official complaint with the electoral commission.

The note also led the divorce movement to request an hour's extension to voting. The request was turned down.

Just over 304,000 people were able to vote since close to 22,000 voting documents, representing six per cent of voters, were uncollected.

Vote counting will take place tomorrow at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta with the sorting of votes starting at about 10 a.m. The result is expected about two hours later.

The official turnout table given by the Electoral Commission.

 District 1

  71%

 District 2

  71%

 District 3

  72%

 District 4

  73%

 District 5

  72%

 District 6

  70%

 District 7

  72%

 District 8

  73%

 District 9

  71%

 District 10

  71%

 District 11

  75%

 District 12

  69%

 District 13

  70%

PN THANKS ELECTORATE

In a statement, the Nationalist Party thanked the electorate for voting in the referendum.

It expressed satisfaction that another useful exercise in democracy was carried out for the people to take a decision which was above partisan politics.

The PN said it would wait for the result to see what the people wanted and thanked the two movements that worked to convince the people about their positions.

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