Among the criticisms, doubts are raised as to the actual number of voting members in the last election
The Movement Serving Benfica reacted to the refusal of the General Assembly Bureau (MAG) of the incarnate club to count the physical votes through an open letter where alleged “misinterpretations” of that governing body are pointed out, at the same time that “the summons is demanded” an extraordinary general meeting to deliberate on the conduct of an audit of conformity to the elections of 28 October 2020 and presentation of a proposal for an electoral regulation to be in force in the club “.
Among the criticisms, doubts are raised as to the actual number of voting members in the last election – “if there were 38,102, if they were less or more” -, stressing that the rule of counting physical votes was not respected and being reinforced that ” there is no decision within Sport Lisboa e Benfica that cannot be reviewed by its governing bodies “. In the middle, alleged discrepancies in the number of voters in Braga, Vila Nova de Gaia, Coimbra, Leiria, Mem Martins, Évora and Faro are presented, as well as the images of poorly sealed ballot boxes on the election night.
MAG’s deliberation is also accused of “a legal fallacy guided exclusively by the contradictory interest of preventing the knowledge of the how and why of an electoral result that legitimizes” the exercise. “It is an orientation supported by a conception of democracy that is merely formal, partial and obscure, typical of other types of regimes and organizations”, reads.
Read the letter in full:
“1. We address your Excellencies in an” Open letter “, in response to the early public disclosure, by means of a” note to the media “, of the decision on our application of 11 November 2020 that should have been notified to us in advance.
2. The content of your “note” contains a set of misinterpretations that we briefly list:
a) The actual number of voting members in the electoral act of 28 October 2020 is controversial; at the present date, we do not know if there were 38,102, if they were less or more and what the vote of all of them was;
b) The election was carried out by electronic vote, but complemented by the issuance of paper support for each voter’s vote, deposited in a ballot box to allow the promised count, this rule having been announced for the electoral act and changed in the course of the same; this fact is intentionally omitted from your deliberation making it vitiated by a manifest (and intentional) error about the de facto assumptions;
c) There is no decision within Sport Lisboa e Benfica that cannot be reviewed by its governing bodies, in the exercise of their respective powers, namely those that are shown to be wrong, supported by illegalities, statutory violations, or in procedures that contain signs of another type;
d) The request addressed to Your Excellencies was substantially based on the exercise of the right to information, moreover recognized in your answer, departing, in form and in substance, from an “inspirational request” or a “syndication”, proper figures of public law organizations that have no similarity with Sport Lisboa e Benfica;
e) According to subparagraph a) of paragraph 1 of article 54 of the Statutes, the Board of the General Meeting has the power / duty to “guarantee legality within SPORT LISBOA E BENFICA, fulfilling and enforcing the statutory precepts “, statutory precept by Your Excellencies, blatantly disregarded when assuming that the electoral procedure, whatever the vicissitudes that affected it (there were several), is not within your competence because it was decided by your predecessors in office, an understanding that if it were valid it would prevent the functioning of the Club and, specifically, of the General Meeting Board.
Therefore, it is permissible to interpret your deliberation as a legal fallacy guided, exclusively, by the contradictory interest of preventing the knowledge of the how and why of an electoral result that legitimizes your exercise.
It is an orientation supported by a purely formal, partial and obscure concept of democracy, typical of other types of regimes and organizations, which do not share the responsibility of Sport Lisboa e Benfica’s historical collection and sporting public utility status.
3. It happens that after the submission of the application of 11 November 2020, facts were reported that cause us and should cause you greater concern.
On November 16, 2020, images were reported and released through the television operator “CMTV” of the closing of an urn at Benfica de Famalicão’s house, indicating that the receptacle was not sealed and under these conditions it was transported to an uncertain part.
Claimants found that this type of occurrence also occurred in other houses in Benfica where polling stations functioned, such as Vila Nova de Gaia and Leiria.
On 19 November 2020 it was reported that the transport of the ballot boxes from the places where the polling stations operated would have been contracted by Sport Lisboa e Benfica to a company providing security services, which is also responsible for other services contracted by the Sport Directorate Lisbon and Benfica.
On this date, it is not known who has responsibility for the preservation of the coupons deposited at the polls on election day, how their intangibility was and is being ensured and where they are located.
4. Using data collected from the polling stations, it was possible to ascertain the existence of discrepancies between officially announced voters and voters actually counted by delegates present on the spot, in the following voting sections:
No. of ballot box Local Voters announced Voters counted
4 / Braga / 960 / 949
22 / Vila Nova de Gaia / 798/790
7 / Coimbra / 1018 / 1016
13 / Leiria / 1107/1097
2 / Mem Martins / 1791 / 1796
Évora / 730 / 660
10 / Faro / 756 / 754
In addition, the total number of voters, as certified by the Bureau of the General Assembly on election day, and as disclosed on the official website of the club, does not correspond to the sum of the number of voters per polling station, according to the figures disclosed publicly by Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
These discrepancies need to be clarified, the causes identified and the impact on the announced results determined.
5. In summary, in relation to the request submitted on 11 November 2020, there are uncertainties that can be described as serious in the functioning of polling stations, in terms of suffrage and control of results.
It will be unnecessary to deepen the impact of the persistence of this uncertainty on the electoral act that Your Excellencies choose not to scrutinize and prevent other members from doing so.
What seems appropriate and necessary to us is to reinforce with your Excellencies the requests previously formulated and add the following:
– That data be collected on the voters announced in the said polling stations and those that were counted by the candidates in the electoral act;
– That the causes of any divergence be investigated;
– That the procedure for collecting and transporting the ballot boxes of the polling stations and the place or places where they have been deposited be explained;
– To confirm the certification of the company hired to provide this type of service and what type of quality standards it is adopting in the custody of documents;
– That it be confirmed which or which ballot boxes have been improperly sealed and whether voting slips have been deposited or subtracted inside them.
6. The structural doubts that persist about the electoral act of 28 October 2020 must be resolved by exercising the powers of the governing bodies of Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
Pushing the clarification of the truth to the functioning of state bodies, especially courts, is an invitation to continue the tearing of the image and good name of our Club through successive processes of determining responsibilities, which has happened with undesirable frequency.
Your Excellencies will not neglect that the environment of suspicion around the actions and omissions of our representatives, to which Your Excellencies already add your contribution, hinders the vitality and mystique of our Benfica, which is often reflected in results and exhibitions where see you.
7. Your Excellencies will not ignore that the ignorance of the causes and motivations for this type of management of an electoral act, which is required to be transparent and auditable, only thickens the suspicion that persists in a significant group of associates, not only of the 3 subscribers of the request, but in the more than 2,000 members who signed a public petition to support it.
To culminate, in view of the magnitude of the issues present in this communication and in the previous request, Your Excellency is requested to convene an extraordinary general meeting to deliberate on the conduct of a conformity audit to the elections of 28 October 2020 and presentation of a proposed electoral regulation to be effective in the Club.
At Your Excellency’s disposal, we subscribe with greetings from Benfiquistas.
Lisbon, November 23, 2020.
Name / member number
Francisco Benitez, partner No. 3082,
João Pinheiro, partner No. 8238,
Nuno Leite, partner No. 11 620 “
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