Complaints filed by ISFED with DECs in connection to the first round of elections
In connection to violations observed on the polling day, during counting of votes and in the post-election period of the October 8 parliamentary elections, ISFED filed a total of 244 complaints with DECs. 93 complaints were fully granted, 40 were partially granted, 90 were rejected and 20 were not considered (1 complaint is still pending).
Majority of the complaints sought imposition of liability on PEC chairs for their failure to adequately fulfill their obligations; 4 complaints sought annulment of polling results, including in polling stations nos.79 and 38 of Zugdidi Majoritarian District no.66. In addition, based on ISFED’s complaints, results of proportional voting in polling station no.34 of Marneuli Majoritarian District no.35 and in polling station no.54 of Gldani Majoritarian District no.21 were deemed invalid.
In 41 cases, complaints sought annulment of summary protocols and revision of polling results. This was mainly requested in cases of altered summary protocols when summary protocol figures did not reconcile and the sum invalid ballots and votes received by electoral subjects exceeded number of voters that participated in the elections.
91 complaints were filed over incomplete or inaccurate summary protocols, i.e. when protocols provided inaccurate information or were missing any relevant detail – e.g. the date and time the protocol was drafted, commission seal number, etc. 24 complaints involved PECs where summary protocol figures did not reconcile, i.e. the sum of invalid ballots and votes received by electoral subjects exceeded the number of voters that participated in the elections. 18 complaints were filed over rewriting/alterations in summary protocols.
Generally, ISFED’s complaints were reviewed in adherence to applicable election legislation. ISFED’s representatives were able to attend the complaints process and voice ISFED’s positions about the complaints. However, we identified the following problems related to the complaints process, including the DEC decisions:
• In the complaints process some DECs failed to adequately examine evidence, summon witnesses and members of PECs and take their statements. In some cases, ISFED observers were prevented from participating in the complaints process to a full extent and often had to deal with unconstructive and aggressive attitudes. In this regard, we’d like to especially highlight DECs of Batumi, Lanchkhuti, Ozurgeti and Telavi;
• By ignoring and circumventing requirements in the Guidelines for Election Disputes adopted by the CEC, district electoral commissions of Gldani and Kutaisi refused to consider complaints filed by ISFED observers after recognizing the observers as unauthorized representatives of the organization.
• DECs of Kaspi, Khashuri, Zugdidi, Nadzaladevi used the term “leaving the complaint unconsidered” in the wrong way, in connection to complaints that were not granted;
• Some DECs, including DECs of Batumi, Khelvachauri, Kaspi, Isani and others, mixed up the legal terms “invalidation of a summary protocol” and “invalidation of polling results”.
• Some decisions made by DECs were ill-founded or relevant resolutions did not address the violations provided in complaints. This was observed, for instance, in DECs of Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Rustavi, Tetritskaro, Khashuri, Borjomi, Tskaltubo, Isani, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Dmanisi and Ozurgeti.
In addition to the above irregularities, timely provision of certified copies of summary protocols was an important problem in DECs of Rustavi and Ozurgeti. Ozurgeti DEC demanded payment of a fee for accessing public information. The Election Code does not envisage any such requirement for accessing a copy of a summary protocol.
We urge the electoral administration to take into account the problems that have been identified during the complaints process and make efforts to eliminate these problems.
Publishing this report is made possible by the generous support of the American people, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The views expressed in this report belong solely to ISFED and may not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID and the United States Government.