The observers of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) reported violations of the secrecy of vote during the October 2 self-government elections.
According to the findings of ISFED’s monitoring mission, violations of the secrecy of vote is still ongoing, namely, there were cases of voters showing their ballots before placing them in the ballot box to the people inside the polling station.
ISFED says multiple violations were reported at two polling stations in Marneuli, where various voters cast their ballots without presenting identification documents, as well as without going through the inking procedure and the procedure of checking of inking. The secrecy of vote was also breached at the polling station. The organization requested an annulment of the polling results at the station.
Instances of voter names being marked by persons inside polling stations, along with their personal information being passed on to third persons, is still ongoing.
Restrictions on the rights of ISFED observers remains a problem; this mainly manifests in creating a hostile environment for observers. Such facts have occured from the moment the polling stations were opened and have taken place on a continuous basis.
Detailed information on the voting process by 17:00
According to the PVT results, the following voter turnout statistics was reported:
● Voter turnout across the country by 17:00 is 41.3%, (with a margin of error of +/-0.7%), which is a slight increase compared to the 2017 local elections, when voter turnout by 17:00 was 36.7%;
● Voter turnout in Tbilisi is 39.1% (with a margin of error of +/-0.7% which is a slight increase compared to the 2017 local elections when the voter turnout by 17:00 was 34.7%;
● In the regions, voter turnout stood at 42% (with a margin of error of +/- 0.7%), which is a slight increase compared to the 2017 local elections, when voter turnout by 17:00 was 37.5%.
In 98.9% of the polling stations, polling was running in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations, which is statistically similar to the corresponding figure from the 2020 parliamentary elections 96.2%.
Observation of the outside perimeter of the PECs (PVT results)
ISFED gathered data from all 121 precincts of the sample, where it has deployed observers of the outside perimeters of the precincts. According to the PVT results:
● Suspicious gathering of persons within the perimeter of 100 meters were reported in 20% of the polling stations, while in 8.3% of the polling stations, suspicious gathering of persons were reported beyond the 100-meter range;
● In 13.3% of the polling stations, within the perimeter of 100 meters, representatives of a party, NGO or others were noting (e.g. were putting marks next to voter names) the voters who had cast their votes. In 4.2% of polling stations, marking took place beyond the 100 meters from the polling stations;
● In 18.3% of the polling stations, ISFED observers reported organized and systematic mobilization and/or transportation of voters to the polling station.
Violations in the voting process
As of now, ISFED observers identified the following violations:
Tracking voters at the polling stations (3)
● At the polling station #96 of the electoral district #79 (Batumi), observation organization “the Support League of America” was making the notes of personal information of the voters who turned out to vote and transferred the information through the phone conversation;
● At polling station #44 of the electoral district #9 (Nadzeladevi), the number of ballot papers released exceeded the number of signatures found in the voters’ list;
● At polling station #60 of the electoral district #20 (Rustavi), representative of Georgian Dream, takes the notes of the personal information of voters and transfers them to the unknown persons through the telephone conversation.
Voting without personal identification card/grounds for results annulment (2)
● At polling station #48 of the electoral district #22 (Marneuli), the majority of voters cast their vote without a personal identification document. Voters were casting their vote based on the assigned line number. Despite multiple notices, the election commission didn’t address the issue. Thus, ISFED requested to the relevant DEC to annul the polling results;
● At polling station #14 of the electoral district #22 (Marneuli), multiple cases of casting the vote without a personal identification document were reported. The inking procedure is neither properly done nor checked. Throughout the day, ISFED observers’ rights were restricted multiple times too. Secrecy of the vote has been multiple times violated by the commission member supervising a ballot box and envelope supervisor. Thus, ISFED addressed the relevant DEC requesting the annulment of the polling results.
Violation of the secrecy of vote (1)
● At polling station #19 of the electoral district (Abasha), around 15 voters showed their choice to the representatives of Georgian Dream and other members of the commission. Despite the chairperson’s notice, the issue hasn’t been solved.
Restricting the rights of observers (1)
● At polling station #15 of the electoral district #16 (Kvareli), ISFED observers are treated improperly, are insulted and deprived of the opportunity to fulfill their duty. Obstruction of the work of commission members by observers (2)
● At polling station #12 of the electoral district #1 (Mtatsminda), observer of the NGO “Alternativa NGO” engages in close communication with the voters, makes noise, chaos, and thus disturbs the situation at the polling station. Despite being asked to address the situation, the commission chairperson did not react;
Error related to the list of voters (4)
● At polling station #29 of the electoral district #5 (Isani), double-checking the ballot papers and signatures revealed that one of the registrars had released more ballots than the number of signatures found on the list. Registrar explained that a voter’s signature had been missing;
● At the polling stations #51 of the electoral district #60 (Ozurgeti), one of the registrars released ballot paper without securing the voter’s relevant signature on the list;
● At the polling station #68 of the electoral district #10, when counting the number of signatures in the voters’ list and the number of issued ballots, it turned out that the number of ballots issued for proportional ballot exceeded the number of signatures, and the number of majoritarian ballots was one ballot less than the signatures;
● At polling station #10 of electoral district # 68, the registrar issued a ballot without the voter’s signature. Later, when the voter was gone, the registrar inserted the signature in the table version of the voters’ list. When the violation was identified, the voter was asked to come at the polling station and the signature was made in the table list of voters.
Violation of the inking procedure (2)
● At polling station #49 of the electoral district #2 (Vake), a voter was allowed to cast a vote without going through the marking procedure;
● At polling station #74 of the electoral district #2 (Vake), the registrar applied inking, but it appeared that the voter was registered at another polling station and the person’s right to vote was restricted;
Problems related to electoral documentation (1)
● At polling station #46 of the electoral district #2 (Vake), there were 52 ballots in the ballot stack, instead of 50. The registrar issued an explanation on the matter.
Problems related to mobile boxes (3)
● At polling station #10 of the electoral district #10 (Gldani), after the mobile box voting was over, it appeared that five ballots were not stamped by the registrar;
● At polling station #64 of the electoral district #79 (Batumi), there was a mistake in the identification number of a voter in the mobile box. The voter was allowed to cast a vote. The chairperson issued an explanatory note that the voter submitted wrong identification number during registration over phone;
● At polling station #14 of the electoral district #62 (Chokhatauri), a voter who was not registered in the mobile box list cast vote through mobile voting. Because of that, a person registered in the mobile box list was deprived of the right to vote through mobile voting. As a result, the mobile box was first returned to the polling station and then taken out of the polling station again, so that the other person registered in the mobile box list could vote.
Complaints (137) and statements (40)
ISFED observers have filed 70 complaints at precinct election commissions, 66 complaints at district election commissions and 40 entries in the record book. One complaint was filed with the CEC.
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 2, 2021, Municipal elections in all electoral districts across Georgia (excluding the occupied territories).