72 hours before election day, OKDIARIO revealed that there was a verbal order in the prisons of the Community of Madrid, dependent on the Ministry of the Interior, to prohibit prison officials from doubling shifts on election day and that it also warned not to there would be paid leave to leave the job and be able to go to vote. The measure, manifestly illegal, was flatly rejected by the Provincial Electoral Board of Madrid and for the Government Delegation, Despite what has arrived on election day, the prison authorities are not allowing their officials to go out to vote during their working hours.
65% of the workforce of prison officials of the Community of Madrid are registered in the autonomous community and therefore have the right to vote today, but incomprehensibly something is happening in Madrid prisons because that right is being limited due to the fact that the addresses of prisons are not allowing their workers to leave their jobs to vote.
OKDIARIO revealed last week the existence of a verbal order that had been extended in all the prisons of the Community of Madrid: on May 4 it would not be allowed to double shifts or leave the job to go to exercise the right to vote. The idea did not come from the direction of a single penitentiary center, but this newspaper was able to confirm that it was repeated in all Madrid prisons. This is the unequivocal symptom that it is a question of a superior instruction that can only emanate from the General Secretariat of Penitentiary Institutions, dependent on the Ministry of the Interior.
In addition, the precedent of previous electoral days in the prisons made the prohibition much more striking. In other elections, the centers resorted to internal organization to encourage the use of postal voting or to take turns leaving the center in an orderly manner and thus be able to vote while the prison kept the minimum number of personnel necessary for its operation. But that solution is seen that Interior is not worth it and leaves the right to vote in suspense of about 3,000 prison officers.
When the officials decided to ask for explanations using the rule that allows workers to enjoy paid leave to go to vote, the managers dispatched the protests in which, citing a ruling from the Superior Court of Justice, they denied the requests for permission to vote. Penitentiary Institutions, now yes, put in writing a manifest abuse of power. And why do we say this? Well, first of all because of the sentence they have used to justify the unjustifiable. This is a ruling in which a Civil Guard agent went to vote outside of his working hours and still asked for financial compensation for having done so in what appears to be an obvious fraud. But that has nothing to do with what occupies Madrid prisons.
The Law supports officials
And it is not something that OKDIARIO maintains, but the Provincial Electoral Board of Madrid itself and the Government Delegation, who in two rulings to which this newspaper has had access make it very clear that the electoral norm has no loopholes: if the working day coincides With the opening of polling stations, workers will have between 2 and 4 hours of paid leave to go to vote, depending on how long these hours coincide.
The two decisions of the two organizations were known by officials and the Interior on April 29 and May 2. In the first of the decisions, in that of the Delegation, it was stated verbatim: “the interested parties have legally recognized the right to vote in the electoral process that will be held on May 4, 2021, having a maximum of 4 paid hours, urging the Penitentiary Center and the interested parties to agree on the working time in which they can exercise this right, so as not to neglect the basic needs of the service ”.
The Electoral Board ruled in the same terms just 48 hours before the elections were held, but May 4 has arrived and the threat from the Interior is being fulfilled: no one will have permission to vote during their working hours. OKDIARIO has had access to a copy of the document that several workers are submitting to record their request for the permits that the Law provides for voting. That writing ends with a premonitory phrase: “In the event that you consider that there is no place for said permission, claim that this application is answered in order to be able to go in defense of my rights before the corresponding authority ”.
Nobody knows to what interests the desire to restrict the right to vote of thousands of workers responds and the associations have already announced that there will be legal actions against this attack on a constitutional right. The union and associative leaders of the prison officials recognize that the relationship between prison workers and the Interior has been especially tense in recent years, but hopefully that is not the reason behind this suspicious decision.