Opening and Setting Up of Polling Stations
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.
Based on the information provided by ISFED observers, the opening and setting up process at the polling stations took place without substantial violations. We have observed 6 cases when the documentation was not properly filled out, 2 cases of restriction of observers’ rights, 3 cases where the casting of lots was violated and 1 case when voting took place without properly inking the voter.
Detailed Information based on the PVT
ISFED has received reports on the opening of polling stations from 100% of PVT observers.
All ISFED observers (100%) were free to observe the opening process of the polling stations. This matches the same data from the first round of the parliamentary elections.
0.3% of the polling stations were not ready to receive the first voter by 8:00am, compared to 4.2% in the first round of the parliamentary elections.
Procedural violation of casting lots was observed at 0.3% of the polling stations. In 99.5% of the polling stations there have been no cases of major violations.
Violations during the Opening and Voting Process
As of now, ISFED observers have reported the following types of violations:
Restricting the rights of observers
• At the polling station #49.59.127 of #2 penitentiary facility (Kutaisi), due to technical reasons, ISFED observer was allowed in the polling station with 30 minutes delay.
• At the polling station #18 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) the observer from the news agency “All Media” was not allowed to take photo at the polling station by the chairperson and the deputy chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC).
Inadequate handling of electoral documentation
• At the polling station #38 of the majoritarian district #60 (Lanchkhuti) and the polling station #51 of the majoritarian district #66 (Zugdidi) the demonstration protocol was not properly filled out.
• At the polling station #24 of the majoritarian district #69 (Batumi) the ballot box control sheet lacked the signature of the voter.
• At the polling station #24 of the majoritarian district #24 (Gurjaani) and the polling station #55 of the majoritarian district #69 (Batumi) the ballot box control sheet did not include the time of filling.
• At the polling station #58 of the majoritarian district #70 (Batumi) ballot box control sheet lacked the signature of the first voter as required by law.
Procedural violation of casting lots
• At the polling station #58 of the majoritarian district #70 (Batumi) procedure of casting lots was violated. One of the members of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) was appointed as registrar by the Chairperson of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) without casting lots.
• At the polling station #8 of the majoritarian district #23 (Sagarejo) and the polling station #91 of the majoritarian district #49 (Kutaisi) the members of the Precinct Electoral Commission (PEC) refused to participate in the procedure of casting lots to appoint the responsible persons to accompany the mobile ballot box.
Voting without proper inking
• At the polling station #21 of the majoritarian district #51 (Baghdati) voter was not properly inked.
As of now, ISFED observers have filed 9 complaints with Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs) and 6 complaints with District Electoral Commissions (DECs). 10 entries were made by ISFED observers in the record book.
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 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.
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 15:00
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 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.