Voting Process and Closing of Polling Stations
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the second round of the local self-government elections on July 12, 2014 in 28 electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED’s observation mission consists of approximately 800 accredited and trained observers, including 32 mobile teams, deployed to precinct and district election commissions throughout the country, as well as the central election commission.
For the second round elections, ISFED deployed observers to:
• a representative, random sample of 350 polling stations in Tbilisi;
• all polling stations in 4 self-governing cities (Rustavi, Mtskheta, Gori, Ozurgeti) and 7 local communities (Khoni, Bagdati, Tkibuli, Terjola, Lanchkhuti, Khulo, Akhmeta)
• the remaining 7 electoral districts (Batumi, Poti, Kobuleti, Telavi, Kvareli, Martvili, Tianeti), where ISFED will conduct mobile observation.
ISFED will implement monitoring of the second round of the local self-government elections using the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, enabling us to identify irregularities in a timely manner, evaluate the whole process of the Election Day and verify accuracy of official results. ISFED has been successfully utilizing the PVT methodology for more than 10 years since 2003. July 12 elections will be the ninth time ISFED will utilize the PVT methodology for evaluating the Election Day and the polling results.
On July 12, 2014 local elections, voters will elect 8 mayors and 13 chief executives (Gamgebelis) in self-governing cities and municipalities where the candidates failed to secure 50%+1of votes in the first round of the elections.
In this statement, ISFED presents its assessment of the voting process and closing of polling stations based on the information provided by 100% of PVT observers.
Based on the analysis of the information received through PVT methodology ISFED concludes that the voting process was conducted in a calm environment. However, outside the polling stations, cases of verbal and physical confrontation between the political party activists were observed. Therefore, these instances fell outside ISFED’s PVT observation area. Noteworthy was a trend of 140 voters at 73 polling stations of 19 districts going to the polling stations only to find out that they were not registered in the voters’ lists. Out of these 140 voters, 53 stated that they had cast their vote in the first round of elections on June 15.
Most of the violations reported by the ISFED observers were minor and of a procedural nature and cannot affect the final outcome of elections. All ISFED observers, with one exception, had the opportunity to observe and react upon the Election Day processes without any restrictions. As of now, ISFED observers have filed 7 complaints at the precinct election commissions, and 30 complaints at the district election commissions.
Detailed Information based on PVT results
• In Rustavi, Mtskheta, Gori, Ozurgeti self-governing cities and Akhmeta, Lanchkhuti, Terjola and Tkibuli municipalities all voters cast their ballots using an appropriate identification document. The figure for Tbilisi was 99.7%, for Baghdati – 96.7% and for Khulo – 96.3%;
• In Rustavi, Mtskheta, Gori self-governing cities and Akhmeta and Terjola municipalities invisible ink was properly checked at 100% of the polling stations. In Tbilisi this procedure was carried out at 98% of the polling stations, in Rustavi – 98.8%, Lanchkhuti – 97.4%, Tkibuli – 97.3%, Khoni – 96.4% and Khulo – 92.6%.
• At all polling stations (100%) in Mtskheta, Rustavi, Gori, Ozurgeti self-governing cities and Akhmeta, Baghdati, Khoni, Lanchkhuti, Terjola and Tkibuli municipalities ballot papers were properly validated with a signature and seal. At 98.9% of polling stations in Tbilisi registrars properly validated the ballot papers;
• All voters were properly inked in Mtskheta, Gori and Ozurgeti self-governing cities and Akhmeta, Baghdati, Lanchkuti, Terjola and Tkibuli municipalities. Inking procedure was followed at 99.7% of the polling stations in Tbilisi, 98.8 – in Rustavi, 96.3% - in Khulo and 92.9% - in Khoni .
• The secrecy of vote was ensured at all polling stations in Mtskheta, Akhmeta, Baghdati, Terjola and Tkibuli; as well as at 98.9% of the polling stations in Tbilisi, 96.9% - in Gori, 96.4% - in Rustavi, 92.9% - Khoni, 92.6% - in Khulo, 92.3% - in Ozurgeti and 92.1% in Lanchkhuti.
Together with partner organizations, ISFED posts the results of its monitoring online by means of elections web portal – www.electionsportal.ge, where election violations reported by the three non-governmental organizations are immediately pinpointed on a map. Further, any citizen can send information about electoral violations by sending a free SMS to the number 90039.
ISFED observers report information to the Data Analysis Center in Tbilisi via short text messages (SMSs), phone calls, and tablet PCs. The Data Analysis Center is comprised of 15 data operators, 15 lawyers, and the staff of the Central Office. ISFED has built a sophisticated PVT database that processes the observers’ texts and automatically gives observers feedback based on an artificial intelligence algorithm. All observer data undergoes several quality control tests and, once those tests have been passed, the data is analyzed and incorporated into ISFED’s findings.
ISFED election monitoring is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia and the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF). The content of this statement is the responsibility of ISFED and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government, the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia or the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).