"Thanks to this new initiative, everyone can vote, even people without a landline- or mobile phone, and regardless the capacity of the telephone network," says Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest. The physical polling stations also provide a reliable back-up solution, should the telephone networks be overloaded by televoting activity. The polling stations will only open their doors during the Final, on the 24th of May.
By means of experiment, the polling stations will be set up in ten large European cities and in areas where the capacity of the telephone network is limited. The Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest is currently investigating in which cities the polling stations will be set up. The polling stations are ideally being set up near large squares or venues where people gather to watch the contest on big screens. If the experiment proves to be successful, more polling stations will be set up for next year's contest.
Last year, the EBU registered some 8,3 million televotes from across Europe. The establishment of polling stations fit in the strategy of the EBU to bring the contest closer to the public, and reach out to a larger audience. "Of course, we would like as many people as possible to be able to vote," Stockselius underlines. People can vote once during the voting window in the show, and not for the country they are voting from. Voting computers (see picture), designed to handle large numbers of votes within a short time, will register and count the votes.
The exact locations of the polling stations will be announced through Eurovision.tv and local media on the 1st of May.
Update 23:59 CET: This story was the official 2008 April Fools joke of Eurovision.tv! Not going to polling stations, but voting by landline or mobile phone is what we hope you will do on the 20th, 22nd and 24th of May!