Opening and Setting Up of Polling Stations
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the second round of 2017 local self-government elections in 6 electoral districts across Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of 317 short-term observers (STOs) deployed at precinct and 6 at district electoral commissions (DECs) as well as 6 mobile groups. Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Data Analysis and Incident Centers are operating in the central office staffed with 8 operators and 6 lawyers.
For the second round of the local elections ISFED has deployed PVT observers to all polling stations in the self-governing city of Kutaisi and in the self-governing municipalities of Martvili, Ozurgeti, Khashuri, Borjomi and Kazbegi.
Similarly to the first round of elections, ISFED’s observation of the second round of local self-government elections is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, which enables us to timely detect violations, systematically evaluate the entire Election Day process and verify the accuracy of the official election results.
In this statement, ISFED presents information about opening of polling stations and commencement of voting.
ISFED observers had the opportunity to access and monitor all of the polling stations without restrictions. Based on the information provided by ISFED observers, the opening and setting up of polling stations took place without substantial violations. Procedural irregularities occurred in several precincts.
As of now, ISFED has filed 3 complaints at the precinct election commissions, 2 complaints at DECs and 1 entry was made in the record book.
Detailed Information from the PVT
ISFED has received reports on the opening of polling stations from 99.7% of the PVT observers.
All (100%) ISFED observers were able to freely access the polling station and observe the opening process. This is statistically similar to the data from the first round of elections (99.7%) .
99.7% of the polling stations were ready to receive voters by 8:00am. This figure is not statistically different from the first round of elections (99.3%).
At all (100%) polling stations, the functions between election commission members were properly assigned by casting of lots, which is statistically similar to the data from the first round of elections (99.7%).
Violations in the process of opening and setting up of polling stations were found at 0.9% of polling stations. This is a slight improvement in comparison with the first round (2.7%).
As of now, ISFED observers have reported the following violations:
Violation of the secrecy of the vote:
• At the polling station #44 of the election district #60 (Ozurgeti), the voter marked their ballot paper outside of the voting booth;
• At the polling station #12 of the election district #65 (Martvili), the voter marked their ballot outside of the voting booth, on the table of the registrar.
Violation of inking procedure:
• At the polling station #29 of the election district #60 (Ozurgeti), voters were checked for inking outside of voting premises. Therefore, the ISFED observer could not observe the inking process. The violation was resolved upon submission of a complaint in the election station.
Inadequate handling of electoral documentation
• At the polling station #76 of the election district #59 (Kutaisi), instead of a voter who could not arrive to the polling station and required voting through the mobile box, her family member was mistakenly included in the mobile box list. Consequently, the voter who needed to vote through the mobile box was unable to take part in the elections. Performing the functions of a commission member by an unauthorized person • At the polling station #124 of the election district #59 (Kutaisi) an individual originally appointed by the United National Movement as the PEC member was fulfilling the functions of the registrar despite the fact that his authorization of PEC membership had been already annulled due to the fact that the party called out all electoral commission members.
ISFED reminds voters that in order to vote they should have with them: Georgian citizen ID card or a Passport.
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 assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The mission is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Contribution for observation of the runoff elections also comes from the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The contents of this statement are the sole responsibility of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and may not be reflecting the position of USAID, the United States Government, the Federal Republic of Germany, British Embassy, or NED.