eng_2016 საპარლამენტო არჩევნები

Voting Process by 19:00

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.

Voter Turnout by 17:00 

According to ISFED, voter turnout by 17:00 is 41.8%, with a margin of error of +/-0.6%, a decline from the 2012 parliamentary elections when voter turnout by 17:00 was 52%, but an increase from the 2014 local elections when voter turnout by 17:00 was 34.4%. 
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, between 12:00 and 17:00, in 77.8% of polling stations, the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, while in 22.2% of polling stations the commission processed 1-2 voters per minute. 

Key Conclusions

According to ISFED observers, voting process has taken place in a calm manner, with the exception of precinct #48, where group of violent individuals have attacked the building where precinct is located. As a result of physical violence, two citizens were injured, including one policeman.

ISFED urges political parties and their activists to respect citizens’ rights to express their will freely through voting, to condemn violence and not allow their supporters’ to engage in violent incidents. We urge law-enforcement agencies to take all measures to avoid the escalation of any violence and punish all involved in the incident to the fullest extent of the law.
Observers have also noted 4 cases of restricting the rights of an observer, 2 cases of campaigning at the polling stations, 2 cases of where the secrecy of the vote was violated, 8 cases where voters were not properly inked at 2 different polling stations, 1 case where the ballot paper was not properly signed and stamped, 3 cases of irregularities related to the voters’ lists, 15 cases of improper handling of electoral documentation.

Violations observed by ISFED between 15:00 and 17:00

Physical violence

ISFED mobile observers are now present at the polling station #48 of the electoral district #36 (Marneuli), where group of citizens violently clashed. Group of aggressive individuals were trying to enter the polling station, while the police were trying to repel their attack. As a result of physical violence, one policeman and one citizen have been injured. The violent group threw stones and damaged the building where the station was located. The members of the Precinct Electoral Commission and observers are inside the polling station, which is closed and protected by the police.

When the ISFED mobile group of observers arrived on site, the majoritarian candidate of political party “Paata Burchuladze – State for People” was addressing the activists. Afterwards, a candidate of “United National Movement” also addressed their supporters. At this stage, the members of the violent group left the area after the arrival of the special forces. The members of the precinct Electoral Commission have also left the polling station. The voting process has been terminated.

Restricting rights of observers

 At the polling station #4 of the majoritarian district #26 (Lagodekhi) ISFED observers were not allowed to take photos of the ballot papers that were designated for another precinct and were delivered at precinct #4 by mistake.
 At the polling station #33 of the majoritarian district #39 (Kaspi) ISFED observers were not initially allowed to take a video, however, the problem was later resolved.
 At the polling station #48 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) ISFED observers were not allowed to register a complaint.
 At the polling station #16 of the electoral district #44 (Ambrolauri) ISFED observers were not allowed to register a complaint.

Campaigning at the polling station

 At the polling station #47 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) there is a writing on the wall which reads “41” in the election booth. Initially, the chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) refused to react to the incident but later voters were not allowed to enter this booth. At this moment the incident is resolved. 
 At the polling station #20 of the majoritarian district #14 (Chughureti) a representative of one of the political parties was wearing a T-shirt indicating the party’s number on the ballot (i.e., illegal campaigning inside the station).

Violating secrecy of the vote 

 At the polling station #26 of the majoritarian district #39 (Kaspi) a voter was joined by a representative of one of the political parties in the voting booth;
 The polling station #15 of the majoritarian district #57 (Tskaltubo) a voter who needed assistance was accompanied by an observer of an organization “Conflict Management and Analysis – Euriasia”, which is a violation of the law.
Improper inking
 At the polling station #40 of the majoritarian district #57 (Tskaltubo) the registrar did not ink five voters.
 At the polling station #11 of the majoritarian district #28 (Akhmeta) the registrar did not ink three voters.


Improper signing and stamping of a ballot paper

 At the polling station #52 of the majoritarian district #48 (Kutaisi) ballot papers that were designated to be sent with the mobile ballot box were not properly signed and stamped. While the box was returned to the polling station so the ballots could be properly stamped and signed, two voters had already casted their votes in the ballot box. As a result of the incident their votes will be annulled. 

Irregularities related to the voters lists

 At the polling station #51 of the majoritarian district #51 (Baghdati) a citizen was not in the voters list despite the fact that they had received their information card and they were registered at the precinct.
 At the polling station #38 of the majoritarian district #60 a voter was on the voters list that was put up on the wall, but they were not included on the voters list where voters have to put the signatures on. Due to the incident, the citizen was not allowed to vote.
 At the polling station #8 of the majoritarian district #50 a married couple was included on the list for the mobile ballot box without their permission and so they were not on the voter list at the station. This means they were not able to vote. 

Disorganized voting process

 At the polling station #48 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) voting process is taking place in chaotic environment. The chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission is not fulfilling their duties properly. The secretary and the registrar of the PEC have periodically left their positions by taking breaks without notifying the chairperson of the PEC.

Inadequate handling of the electoral documentation

 At the polling station #60 of the majoritarian district #32 (Gori) the registrar tore pages from the booklet of ballot papers and handed them over to the voter in a way that the first entity on the list was not visible on the ballot paper. In total, the incident involved 18 ballot papers from the majoritarian booklet and 16 ballot papers from proportional one.
 At the polling station #13 of the majoritarian district #24 ballot papers were handed out with violation of the procedures.
 At the polling station #21 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) and at the polling station #64 of the electoral district #66 (Zugdidi) the registrar did not manage to make sure all voters signed on the voters list.
 At the polling station #6 of the majoritarian district #43 (Khashuri) and at the polling station #57 of the majoritarian district #57 (Tskaltubo) the Precinct Electoral Commission did not fill out the demonstration protocol properly.
 At the polling station #51 of the electoral district #31 (Gardabani) the demonstration protocol was filled out after a delay.
 At the polling station #29 of the electoral district #25 (Sighnaghi) the registrar signed and stamped the ballot papers in advance.
 At the polling station #37 of the electoral district #23 (Sagarejo) the registrar and a voter improperly put their signatures on the voters list.
 At the polling station #11 of the electoral district #24 (Gurjaani) registrar did not manage to ensure that the voter put their signature in the right spot on the voters list.
 At the polling station #13 of the electoral district #13 (Kaspi) and the polling station #56 of the electoral district #57 (Tskaltubo) in the general lists of voters those voters that were to vote by mobile ballot box were not properly marked. 
 At the polling station #64 of the electoral district #66 (Zugdidi) registrar did not manage to ensure that the voter put their signature in the right spot on the voters list.
 At the polling station #16 of the majoritarian district #44 (Ambrolauri) a voter brought their own envelope to the voting booth and came out of the booth with ballot papers placed in the envelope, while according to the procedures, the voter should place the ballots in the envelope under supervision of a member of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC).

Improper completion of the ballot box control sheet

 At the polling station #18 of the electoral district #24 (Gurjaani), the polling station #2 of the electoral district #69 (Batumi) and the polling station #44 of the electoral district #71 (Ambrolauri) the control sheet was not properly filled in (it did not include the time when it was placed in the ballot box)
 At the polling station #22 of the electoral district #50 (Terjola) the ballot box control sheet was not properly filled in (it did not include the personal data of the voter)
 At the polling station #14 of the electoral district #26 (Lagodekhi) the ballot box control sheet was not properly filled in (it did not include the address of the voter)

At the moment of the statement ISFED observers have filed 66 complaints at the District Electoral Commissions (DECs) and 52 complaints at the Precinct Electoral Commission (PECs). ISFED observers have made 121 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 and phone calls. 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 will release its next statement at 22:00

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.