eng_2016 საპარლამენტო არჩევნები

Voting process and Voter Turnout

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 8, 2016 Parliamentary Elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of approximately 1,000 accredited and trained observers, including nearly 850 short-term observers, 73 district observers and 70 mobile groups. Observers are deployed to precinct, district and central election commissions throughout the country.

ISFED’s observation of the parliamentary elections is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, which enables us to timely detect violations, evaluate the entire Election Day process and verify the accuracy of the official election results. The PVT uses statistics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and ISFED has deployed 600 observers to a nationally representative sample of polling stations. As a result, PVTs  provide the most accurate and timely information on the conduct of voting and counting and are the only methodology that can independently verify if the official results as announced by the electoral commission are accurate. These elections are the tenth elections where ISFED has used the PVT methodology to assess the Election Day process and to verify the official results.
 
              


Key Conclusions

According to ISFED observers, by 15:00 voting process is taking place in calm and organized manner. By the time of this statement, there have been a few cases of significant violations. 

We have observed 18 cases where the electoral documentation was not adequately handled, 4 cases when voting took place without properly inking the voter, 2 cases of improper stamping/signing of the ballot, 2 cases of campaigning at the polling station, 2 cases of unauthorized persons present at the polling station, 1 case of voting with improper documentation, 1 case where the casting of lots was  violated, 1 case of where the secrecy of the vote was not upheld and 1 case of where the police entered the polling station to help restore order.

Voter Turnout by 12:00 (PVT Results)

According to ISFED, voter turnout by 12:00 is 19.7%, with a margin of error of +/-0.3%, which is a decline from the 2012 parliamentary elections when voter turnout by 12:00 was 25.5%, but an increase from the 2014 local elections when voter turnout by 12:00 was 16.6%. 

Since turnout is announced at specified times of the day, ISFED calculates the average time it takes for a polling station to process a voter. According to the information recorded by the PECs, in 70.7% of polling stations, the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, while in 29.3% of polling stations the commission processed 1-2 voters per minute. 

Violations observed by ISFED at the time of the statement

Campaigning at the polling station

 At polling station #14 of the majoritarian district #60 (Lanchkhuti) a voter went into the voting booth with another voter who was campaigning for a specific party. The person campaigning was asked to leave after the incident was highlighted by the ISFED observer.
 At the polling station #13 of the majoritarian district #28 (Akhmeta) a voter was campaigning, which resulted in a verbal argument with the chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC). The voter campaigning was asked to leave the polling station.
Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station
 At the polling station #40 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) two representatives of one of the parties were present at the polling station. The incident was resolved after it was highlighted by the ISFED observer;
 At the polling station #65 of the majoritarian district #27 (Zugdidi) two representatives of local organization - “Giorgi Mazniashvili’s Georgian Village” - observing the elections was present at the polling station. One of the representatives was asked to leave the polling station after the ISFED observer highlighted the incident.

Inadequate handling of electoral documentation

 At the polling station #5 the majoritarian district #20 (Gldani) the secretary of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) was filling in the record book with a pencil instead of a pen as prescribed by law. The incident was resolved after the ISFED observer highlighted it.
 At the polling stations #10 and #85 of the majoritarian district #41 (Gori), the polling stations #1, #15, #43 of the majoritarian district #43 (Khashuri) and the polling stations #1 and #38 of the majoritarian district #60 (Chokhatauri) the PECs did not properly fill out the demonstration protocol.
 At the polling station #31 of the majoritarian district #07 (Krtsanisi) the registrar did not sign the voters list after the voter made their signature. 
 At the polling stations #49 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) and the polling stations #7 and #73 of the majoritarian district #47 (Kutaisi) the ballot box control sheet did not include the time it was placed in the ballot box as required by the law. 
 At the polling station #25 of the majoritarian district #39 (Kaspi) voters were allowed to vote without proper identification. The incident was resolved after it was highlighted by the ISFED observer.
 At the polling station #33 of the majoritarian district #39 (Kaspi) in the general list of voters those voters that were to vote by mobile ballot box were not properly marked. The incident was resolved after it was highlighted by the ISFED observer.
 At the polling station #13 of the majoritarian district #51 (Bakhdati) at least one extra ballot was given along with the intended ballot to the voter.
 At the polling station #1 of the majoritarian district #69 (Batumi) ballot box control sheet lacked the signature of the first voter as required by law. 
  At the polling station #60 of the majoritarian district #59 (Batumi) the election commission member did not prevent a voter from incorrectly placing both of their ballots into two envelopes (instead of into one envelope).
 At the polling station #124 of the majoritarian district #48 (Kutaisi) a ballot was casted into the ballot box without an envelope.

Violation of the secrecy of the vote

 At the polling station #34 of the majoritarian district #48 (Kutaisi) a representative of one of the parties requested that a voter show them their completed ballot, which violated the secrecy of the vote.

Procedural violation of casting lots

 At the polling station #36 of the majoritarian district #73 (Khulo) according to the casting lots the two members of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) responsible for accompanying mobile ballot box were “Burjanadze – United Democrats” and  “United National Movement.” However, the chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) refused to allow the two above-mentioned persons to take the mobile ballot box, based on an argument that both of them represented the opposition parties. As a result, different members of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) went to accompany the mobile ballot box even those they were not chosen according to the casting of lots.

Voting with improper documentation

 At the polling station #40 of majoritarian district #40 (Kareli) a voter was allowed to vote without proper identification, as they only had their IDP card and lacked their official ID.
Voting without proper inking
 At the polling station #61 of majoritarian district #8 (Isani), the polling station #11 of majoritarian district #28 (Akhmeta), the polling station #21 of majoritarian district #39 (Kaspi) and the polling station #124 of majoritarian district # 48 (Kutaisi) voters were not properly inked when they were given ballot papers. The incident was resolved after ISFED observer highlighted it.

Improper signing/stamping of the ballot paper

 At the polling station #71 of majoritarian district #36 the registrar did not properly sign and stamp the ballot that were for voting via the mobile ballot box.
 At the polling station #61 of majoritarian district #32 a voter cast a ballot paper that was not properly stamped by a commission member.
Disorganized voting process
 The polling station #38 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) the chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) was not able to maintain order at the polling station. The police were called to restore order.

At the moment of the statement ISFED has filed 43 complaints at the Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs) and 21 complaints filed at the District Electoral Commissions (DECs). ISFED observers have made 90 entries in the record books.

Together with partner organizations, ISFED allows you to follow the election process online, by going to the elections web-portal – www.electionsportal.ge, where election violations reported by three non-governmental organizations are immediately posted on the elections map. In addition, anyone can report violation of the electoral process by sending a text to a toll-free number 90039.

ISFED observers report information to the Data Analysis Center in Tbilisi via short message service, phone calls, and tablet PCs. The Data Analysis Center is comprised of 20 data operators, 20 lawyers, and the staff of the Central Office. ISFED has built a sophisticated PVT database that processes the observers’ texts. 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 and conclusions. 

ISFED reminds voters to have one of the following documents with them to be able to participate in the elections:

·        Georgian citizen ID card
·        Passport of a citizen of Georgia (the so-called international passport)
·        Certificate of an IDP (together with an ID card)

ISFED calls upon all eligible voters in Georgia to go to the polls and express their free will by voting in favor of a candidate of their choice.

ISFED will release its next statement at 19:00

ISFED Observation Mission is made possible with the generous support from the American people, by financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Election Day mission is also supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, the European Union (EU) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The views expressed in  this statement belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the European Union or NED.