ISFED 2nd By-Election Statement 4:00pm
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
April 27, 2013 Parliamentary By-Elections
April 27, 2013; 4:00 pm
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) continues observation of the parliamentary by-elections in three electoral districts of Georgia. The organization already issued the first statement at 11:00 am. This statement summarizes information regarding processes ongoing after 11:00am.
According to ISFED, Election Day maintains to be carried out in an organized manner and continues to fall within the frame of procedures prescribed by law. Voting process remains to be calm and voters are free to exercise their right to vote. However, several violations have been identified in some precincts regarding mobile boxes and presence of unauthorized persons at polling stations.
At this point, ISFED brings up the following important information on violations that will also be submitted to the relevant election administration in complaints:
§ ISFED observer has identified yet another case when a local official was present at a polling station as an observer. This time, Deputy Chairperson of Tskaltubo Sakrebulo (council) was observing voting process as a representative of non-governmental organization Momavlis Archevani at Bagdati #12 polling station. This is a violation of the Article 39 paragraph 4 of the Election Code, according to which a member of local self-government representative body (Sakrebulo) may not be registered as an observer. ISFED has already identified the violation in the record book at the polling station and informed the Central Election Commission.
Mobile ballot box was annulled in Samtredia #21 polling station based on ISFED complaint. The mobile box was returned to the precinct without any signatures in the appropriate voters’ list.
Additionally, ISFED observers identified a noteworthy circumstance – in all three districts the list of candidates posted in the polling stations bear a watermark “Majoritarian Candidates” (in Georgian). Electoral numbers of certain candidates are circled by graphic image of the watermark, that might be visually perceived as agitation in favor of a particular candidate (please see the attached photo materials). It is possible that this is not done intentionally, however some candidates and observers deemed it to be a hint to reference certain majoritarian candidates. To avoid misinterpretation, we believe, such visual details should be taken into consideration when designing demonstration materials.
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) observes the parliamentary by-elections in all three electoral districts through mobile teams, district election commission observers and 60 short-term observers at the polling stations. SMS and incident centers operate at the central office where the observers transmit information regarding the Election Day process and detected violations. Besides, ordinary citizens can also submit text messages to the toll-free SMS number 90039 should they identify any electoral violations.