Voting Process and Closing of Polling Station
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 28, 2018 Presidential Elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of more than 800 accredited and trained observers deployed at precinct, 73 observers deployed at district electoral commissions and 78 mobile groups. PVT and Incident Centers are working in the central office with 15 operators and 10 lawyers.
ISFED’s observation of the Presidential 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 its assessment of the voting process and closing of polling stations based on the information provided by 99.0% of PVT observers.
Based on the analysis of the information received through PVT methodology ISFED concludes that the voting process was mostly conducted without significant violations. However, throughout the voting process different kinds of procedural violations were reported, such as limiting the rights of observers; violation of inking procedure; procedural violations related to ballot papers; presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station; errors related to the voters list; voting instead of other voter; campaigning at the polling station, etc. Also separate cases of verbal and physical violations were identified.
During the Election Day ISFED observers identified the disturbing trend of mobilization of party activists nearby polling stations, who were noting which voters went to the stations, these cases might have a negative effect on expression of voters’ free will and might be taken as indirect pressure on voters. This kind of method was mostly used by activists of the “Georgian Dream”, however, at certain election districts similar activities were reported from representatives of the “United National Movement”, as well as “European Georgia”. ISFED observers also identified several cases of campaigning and demanding voters to bring more supporters from activists of the ruling party. At separate cases, at polling stations, representatives of certain non-governmental organizations were using similar methods.
At this time, ISFED observers have filed 61 complaints with Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs) and 62 complaints with District Electoral Commissions (DECs).
Detailed Information from the PVT
• At 99.7% of polling stations in Georgia, voters cast their ballots using proper voter identification. This figure is almost identical to the 2013 Presidential Elections (98%).
• Inking was always properly checked at 97.1% of polling stations, which is an improvement compared to the 2013 Presidential Elections, when inking was checked at 94.4% of polling stations.
• At 99.1% of polling stations, the ballot papers were properly validated with a signature and seal. This figure is not different from 2013 Presidential Elections (99.1%).
• At 98.6% of polling stations, voters were always properly inked. This figure is not statistically different from 2013 Presidential Elections when voters were properly inked at 97.4% of polling stations.
• The secrecy of vote was always ensured at 98.6% of the polling stations. This figure is slightly improved compared to 2013 Presidential Elections (96.4%).
• Different cases of violation during voting process were identified at 0.8% of the polling stations.
After 17:00 ISFED’s observers reported following violations:
Limitation of observers’ rights:
• At the polling station #93 of the election district #10 (Gldani), the observer was not allowed to register a complaint by the secretary of the Commission.
Violation of secrecy of vote
• At the polling station #4 of the election district #38 (Adigeni), the voter casted a vote outside of the cabin, despite the fact that he/she was pointed not to do so by the Chair.
Campaigning at the polling station
• At the polling station #11 of the election district #12 (Gurjaani), the observer of the “Former Prisoners for Human Rights” was campaigning and urging the voters to vote for the candidate of the “Georgian Dream”.
• At the polling station #91 of the election district #3 (Saburtalo) the member of the Commission was making political statements. Procedural violations related to ballot papers • At the polling station #91 of the election district #3 (Saburtalo) the voter placed a ballot paper in the ballot box without an envelope.
• At the polling station #34 of the election district #37 (Akhaltsikhe) after counting of signatures by the registrar, it was discovered that number of issued ballot papers was one figure more than signatures.
• At the polling station #102 of the election district #79 (Batumi) the registrar issued one more ballot papers to the voter.
• At the polling station #37 of the election district #83 (Khelvachauri), 41 voters were able to cast a vote using mobile ballot box. Members of the Commission accompanying the ballot box were issued 50 ballot papers. After completion of casting of votes, members of the Commission brought back 8 ballot papers, instead of 9. Inadequate handling of electoral documentation.
• At the polling stations #6 and #25 of the election district #52 (Baghdati) voters who were voting through mobile ballot box were not indicated in any of the registrars’ voting lists.
• At the polling station #86 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi) the secretary of the Commission changed data in the demonstration protocol.
Errors related to the voters list
• At the polling station #36 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), the voter found a signature in the voting list alongside his/her name.
• At the polling station #54 of the election district #8 (Didube), the members of the Commission accompanying the mobile ballot box have taken the special list alongside with the mobile ballot box list, the incident was revealed only after the mobile ballot box was brought back at the station.
• At the polling station #45 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), the family member of a voter, was allowed to cast a vote instead of the registered voter by the member of the Commission accompanying the mobile ballot box.
• At the polling station #93 of the election district #10 (Gldani) the registrar failed to put their own signature in the list.
Interruption of the work of election commission
• Case of verbal confrontation was reported between the Chair of the Vake District Electoral Commission, Tamaz Poladashvili and the representative of the “United National Movememnt”, Konstantine Ioseliani. The latter was recording a video of the ongoing process at the district, with a few persons accompanying him. As the chair of the DEC said, they could not identify these persons, as they did not present adequate accreditation. After their arrival, verbal confrontation between the Chair and Konstantine Ioseliani was going in the corridor of the building where DEC is situated. The Chair forced these persons out of the PEC’s building, however, the representative of the “Civil Platform – New Georgia” at the Vake District Electoral Commission, David Nebieridze did not obey to the decision of the Chair, who consequently, called the police, who removed the representative from the district.
ISFED allows you to follow the election process online, by going to the elections web-portal – www.electionsportal.ge, where election violations 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 number 90039.
ISFED will announce information regarding the results after completion of counting of votes, summing up the results and analysis of received information.
ISFED will issue next statement tomorrow, 29 October.
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 Election Day mission is also supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). 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, or NED.