Voter Comes to Polling Station, Finds Out She Is Dead

Total Croatia News

Croatian bureaucracy at its finest.

Barica Valaško from Podvinje Miholečko, a settlement in the Municipality of Sveti Petar Orehovec near Križevci, is the only officially dead woman in Croatia who is still alive. She was recently surprised to hear that, according to the Registry Office and the Police Department, she died on 19 February this year, reports Jutarnji List on May 30, 2017.

Valaško has been declared dead by Croatia’s famously efficient bureaucratic system. What’s more, no one told her family that they had lost a family member. For three months, Barica’s husband Stjepan and their daughter did not know they were living, speaking and eating together with a deceased person.

Barica first learned about her demise on Sunday, 21 May, when she went to vote for candidates in local elections. “I came to the local polling station, but they told me that I was not on the voter rolls. They checked several times and did not find me. My husband then started to investigate to see why I could not vote,” says Barica.

“The local voting committee sent me to the Registry Office in Križevci, where I talked with an employee. I explained her the situation, and she said she would check and get back to me. About 15 minutes later, she called and respectfully told me that she was sorry that my wife had died”, says Stjepan.

When he heard the news that Barica was dead, he first checked her carefully and then told the Registry Office employee, “She did not die, she is standing right next to me.”

“No, no, she did die”, the employee tried to convince him, explaining that the computer system clearly says she was no longer among the living.

“How can someone say that my wife is dead when she is standing next to me? I suppose I would know first that Barica had died”, says Valaško, adding that he did not whether to scream or laugh. “I went to the police station to check what happened, but they told me the same thing. They tried to convince me that I should accept the fact that my wife had died. Only after my additional explanations did they initiate an investigation.”

The Police Department confirms that the process of determining who made a mistake is ongoing. The Registry Office in Križevci explains that, in recent years, all the information is shared via a special computer system. It is possible that someone made a wrong entry, but it is hard to determine who did it since many people have access to the network.

Stjepan launched his investigation and discovered that, at the same time when his Barica supposedly died, in a nearby village an 83-year-old woman did indeed die, and that she had the same name and surname as his wife. “An 83-year-old Barica Valaško from Pofuk died, but they made an entry for my 64-year-old Barica Valaško from Podvinje. I do not know what other reason could there be”, says Stjepan, adding that the worst thing was that Barica was not able to vote for their candidate in the elections. “Fortunately, our guy won, but imagine if he lost the election by one vote. Who would be held responsible?”

Barica now hopes that she will be resurrected by the administration system soon and that her personal documents, such as the ID and health insurance cards, are still valid. “It would not be fair if I would now have to change all my personal documents, just because someone else made a mistake,” says Barica.


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