Voting Process and Closing of Polling Stations 22:30
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 30, 2016 second round of Parliamentary Elections in 50 majoritarian districts across Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of approximately 700 accredited and trained observers.
Over 600 ISFED short-term observers (STOs) are monitoring voting and counting process in a national representative sample of polling stations through Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology. ISFED has observers at all polling stations in four majoritarian districts: #36 Marneuli; #44 Akhaltsikhe-Adigeni; #49 Kutaisi; and #66 Zugdidi. Additionally, 40 mobile groups and 43 DEC observers are deployed as part of the mission. PVT and Incident Centers are working at the Central Office.
According to ISFED observers, the voting process was taking place in calm and organized manner throughout the country. In certain isolated cases ISFED observers identified such important violations as breach of the secrecy of vote and voting without proper inking. The majoritarian district of Marneuli was the most problematic in this regard.
At this moment, ISFED observers continue to monitor vote count procedure, during which, in a few cases, observers have detected violations that were not possible to identify during the voting process. These include: breach of secrecy of the ballot paper, ballot papers lacking necessary signatures or seals, and cases where number of ballot papers were less than the number of voters who participated in polling.
Detailed Information from the PVT
At 99.1% of polling stations in Georgia, voters cast their ballots using proper voter identification. This figure is statistically almost identical to the first round of the parliamentary elections, when 98% of voters cast their vote using proper voter identification.
Inking was always properly checked at 99.1% of polling stations. This figure has improved slightly compared to the first round of the parliamentary elections when inking was always checked at 97% of polling stations.
At 99.9% of polling stations, the ballot papers were properly validated with a signature and a seal. This result is statistically no different from the first round of the parliamentary elections where ballot papers were properly validated at 98% of the polling stations.
At 99.3% of polling stations, voters were always properly inked, which is not statistically significantly different from the first round of the parliamentary elections, where voters were properly inked at 98.7% of the polling stations.
The secrecy of vote was always ensured at 97.6% of the polling stations, a slight improvement from the first round of the parliamentary elections, where the secrecy of vote was ensured at 95% of the polling stations.
Acts of harassment and intimidation were not reported at any polling station (100% without such violation), a slight improvement from the first round of the parliamentary elections, where acts of harassment and intimidation were reported at 1% of the polling stations.
During voting process major violations were identified at 0.4% of the polling stations.
Violations observed after 19:00
Violations detected during the vote count procedure
• At the polling station #72 of the majoritarian district #66 (Zugdidi) substantial violation of the secrecy of vote was detected during the vote count. In 35 envelopes, voter invitation cards were placed along with ballot papers, making it possible to identify the voters and their votes. One of the ballot papers also had a note, confirming the fact of voting in favor of one of the candidate. In the above-mentioned ballot papers the citizens had voted in favor of the Georgian Dream.
• At the polling station #98 of the majoritarian district #49 (Kutaisi) vote count procedure revealed that 9 ballot papers were not properly validated with a signature and a seal by the registrar. This is ground for marking ballot papers void. In 6 of such ballot papers, the vote was in favor of the Georgian Dream and in 3 cases - vote was cast in favor of the UNM.
• At the polling station #3 of the majoritarian district #72 (Khelvachauri) the mobile ballot box control sheet does not match the ballot box control sheet saved with the Chairperson of the PEC.
Casting of votes by inked individuals
• At the polling station #48 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) and the polling station #8 of the majoritarian district #69 (Lanchkhuti), voters who were previously inked were allowed to cast a vote.
Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station
• At the polling station #19 of the majoritarian district #60 (Batumi) two representatives of one of the candidates are present. The PEC chairperson at this polling station is under the influence of alcohol.
Improperly issuing ballot paper
• At the polling station #54 of the majoritarian district #6 (Saburtalo) the registrar handed out the ballot paper without signing in the voter list.
At his time, ISFED observers have filed 35 complaints with Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs) and 39 complaints with District Electoral Commissions (DECs). ISFED observers have made 54 entries in the record book.
ISFED observers report information to the Data Analysis Center in Tbilisi via SMS and/or phone calls. The Data Analysis Center is comprised of 10 data operators, 10 lawyers, and the staff of the Central Office. ISFED has built a sophisticated PVT database that processes the observers’ text messages. All observer data undergoes several quality control tests and, once those tests are passed, the data is analyzed and incorporated into ISFED’s findings and conclusions.
Together with partner organizations, ISFED allows citizens to follow the election process online, by visiting the Elections 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 SMS number 90039. Photo or video evidences of violations can also be uploaded to the Elections Portal
ISFED will release its next statement with PVT results on October 31, at 10:00am.
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 Runoff Election Day mission is also supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, and the European Union (EU). 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 Federal Republic of Germany, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or the European Union.