Voter Turnout as of 17:00 and Voting Process
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 information on voter turnout as of 17:00 and reports on the voting process by this time.
Based on information collected by ISFED, the highest turnout for 17:00 among all the self-governing cities was in Ozurgeti (41%). As for the other self-governing cities: Tbilisi – 27% (margin of error +/-0.5%), Mtskheta – 36%, Gori – 30% and Rustavi – 27%.
While the voter turnout was higher for 12:00 in the second round as compared to the 12:00 turnout in the first round, the turnout in Tbilisi, Mtskheta and Rustavi self-governing cities for 17:00 was lower than the 17:00 turnout at the same localities for the June 15 elections.
The turnout figures as of 17:00, in municipalities where voters are casting their ballots for Gamgebelis, the highest turnout was in Khoni (50%). The turnout is also high in Lanchkhuti (42%) and Terjola (42%) districts. Turnout is almost identical in Akhmeta (37%), Khulo (36%), Baghdati (35%) and Tkibuli (35%) municipalities.
For the period of 13:30 – 18:00, the ISFED observers have reported the following violations:
• 1 case of detaining a political party activist: plain clothed persons detained and drove away two individuals Nugzar Mkalavishvili and Merab Gadabadze in the vicinity of #10 precinct, Krtsanisi district. According to the United National Movement (UNM), the detained are UNM supporters and Nugzar Mkalavishvili was soon released, while Merab Gadabadze remained detained. According to the information provided by the police to UNM, Merab Gadabadze was detained on the basis of alleged illegal possession of arms. Gadabadze denies these events. His family members only communicate with the UNM. They claim that the police threatened them with complications, if they made public comments about the case. UNM claims the detention was aimed at obstructing party activities. ISFED has addressed the Interagency Taskforce for Free and Fair Elections (IATF) with the request to investigate the case. According to the IATF, both individuals have been released.
• 2 cases of violating the integrity of the mobile ballot box: at 12:50, at precincts #30, Terjola district, a mobile ballot box with a significantly damaged seal arrived to the polling station. ISFED observer submitted a complaint to the PEC, requesting the invalidation of the mobile ballot box votes. At precinct #11, Terjola district, the opening of the ballot box was not sealed at the point of arrival at the polling station;
• 1 case of unauthorized person being present at the polling station at precinct #24, Poti;
• 1 case of violating the secrecy of vote at precinct #5, Khoni;
• 5 cases of improper documentation: at Mtskheta #2, Khulo #11, #23, Tkibuli #30 and #32 precincts;
• 2 cases of pre-made signatures in the voters’ lists: at Nadzaladevi #26 and Saburtalo #60 precincts, which prevented voters from casting their ballots;
• 1 case of violating the inking procedure: at precinct #33, Saburtalo district, the PEC registrar checked the voter in the voters’ lists only after the voter had undergone the inking. The voter did not appear in the list, losing the right to vote automatically.
As of now, ISFED observers have filed 6 complaints at the precinct election commissions, and 25 complaints at the district election commissions.
In addition, ISFED would like to address the reports regarding the facts of physical or verbal confrontations outside the polling stations in some electoral districts and calls upon all stakeholders in the electoral process – political parties, voters – to stay calm and abstain from violence.
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 will issue next statement at 21:30.
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).