Voting Process by 19:00
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 31, 2020 Parliamentary Elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED Election Day Observation Mission consists of around 1000 accredited and trained observers deployed to polling stations, 73 observers deployed at district electoral commissions and 78 mobile groups. ISFED also operates PVT and Incident Centers in the central office with 20 operators and 11 lawyers. The current elections are taking places during a global pandemic: COVID-19. ISFED staff and observers are following the safety guidelines as necessitated by COVID-19 while they conduct their observation duties.
The Election Day Mission is a continuation of ISFED’s observation of the pre-election period, which commenced on June 1 and included deploying 68 Long-Term Observers (LTOs), as well as the analysis of the social media environment.
ISFED’s Election Day observation of the Parliamentary Elections is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, where PVT observers are deployed to a statistically a sound, nationally representative sample of polling stations throughout the country. The PVT methodology enables ISFED to quickly detect violations, systematically evaluate the quality of the entire Election Day process, and verify the accuracy official results of the proportional race within a small margin of error.
In this statement, ISFED presents information about the voting process as of 19:00.
Facts of recording of names of voters by party coordinators and individual public servants at polling stations are still taking place at a massive scale. Mayoral representatives in territorial units are present at polling stations in the status of observers or proxies. Their presence may be considered as control of voters will. In addition to that, a media outlet NewPost is taking photos and videos of voters. In several districts, high concentration of people close to polling stations grew into physical violence, which casts a shadow on peaceful conduct of elections. Those present on behalf of observer organizations and those recording voters are aggressive towards ISFED observers. Facts of violation of the secrecy of vote remains problematic again.
As of 19:00, ISFED observers filed 66 complaints at Precinct Election Commissions, 58 complaints at District Election Commissions and 33 entries in the record book.
Voter Turnout by 17:00 (PVT Results)
According to ISFED, voter turnout across the country by 17:00 was 44.9%, (with a margin of error of +/-0.5%), higher than the corresponding figure for the 2016 Parliamentary elections (41.8%).
Voter turnout in Tbilisi by 17:00 was 43.6%, an increase in comparison to the turnout on the same hour in the 2016 elections (40.6%). In regions (outside Tbilisi), voter turnout was 45.4%, while the voter turnout by 17:00 in regions for the 2016 elections was 42.6%.
PVT analysis allows us to calculate the average time it takes for a polling station to process a voter. According to the information recorded by the PECs from 8:00 to 12:00, in 65.8% of polling stations (77.8% in 2016), the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, while in 34.2% of polling stations (22.2% in 2016) the commission processed 1 to 2 voters per minute.
The voting process in 96.2% of polling stations is being carried out in line with the COVID-19 regulations.
In the reporting period, ISFED observers have reported following violations:
- At polling station #84 of Batumi election district (#79), there was a physical confrontation between an UNM member and the PEC chair. According to the ISFED observer, the party representative is interfering in the commission’s work.
- At polling station #37 of Kutaisi election district (59), there was a physical confrontation between Labor Party representatives and persons mobilized at the polling station. An investigation has been launched into the case.
- Several incidents occurred next at the public school #39, where polling stations #78, #79, #80, #81, #82, #83 and #85 are located. At this moment, there is a lot of people and police mobilized in the area. In the last incident, a gun was involved. As explained by a Gldani DEC member, Maia Khundadze, she witnessed how an unknown individual was threatening one of the observers standing outside the polling station. According to ISFED’s observer, the situation escalated into violent incidents several times and there still are many people mobilized there. The police is also present.
- At polling station #79 of Gldani election district (#10), journalist of a media outlet Publika was physically assaulted. An aggressive individual attacked the journalist and damaged the latter’s cell phone. Journalist of TV Pirveli was also injured, who was hit with a camera in the confrontation.
- At polling station #89 of Marneuli election district (22), media outlets reported on a verbal confrontation. ISFED’s mobile group who went to the polling station found out that all observers from opposition parties were expelled, with only election commission members and a Georgian Dream representative present at the polling station.
Restriction of observer’s rights
- At polling station #25 of Marneuli election district (#22), the precinct commission is restricting the rights of ISFED’s observer to observe and is pressuring him/her, which is caused by the latter’s decision to file a complaint in the first half of the day. The PEC chair engaged with the observer physically and pulled his/her badge, while the mayoral representative to the respective territorial unit attending in the status of a party representative warned the observer that he/she was young, and hence, should avoid excess activity.
- At polling station #18 of Dedoplistkaro election district (#14), which stood out with the number of violations, ISFED’s observer was being pressured and was threatened to be expelled from the polling station.
Attempts to control the will of the voters
- At polling station #1 of Tkibuli election district (#57), around four persons were standing at the polling station entrance and were recording the voters.
- At polling station #32 of Mtatsminda election district (#3) and polling station #39 of Samgori election district (#6), there are cars parked at the polling station and persons sitting in the cars are recording the voters.
- At polling station #30 of Kharagauli election district (#48), the Georgian Dream coordinators were standing near the polling station and were observing the voters.
- At polling station #27 of Chiatura election district (#56), head of the education resource center was standing the polling station and was reporting on the number of voters through telephone. At polling station #34 of the same district, there was a Georgian Dream flag. At polling station #47, Georgian Dream coordinators were standing at a table next to the polling station and were recording the voters. At polling station #48, at a garage in front of the polling station unknown individuals were recording the voters.
- At polling stations #39, #49, #50, #54, #57, #59 and #112 of Samgori election district (#6), the Georgian Dream coordinators are mobilized at polling stations and are recording voters.
- At polling station #13 of Zestaponi election district (#51), there are people with voters lists at the polling station.
- At polling stations #26 and #27 of Sagarejo election district (#11), people with voters lists are recording the voters.
Violation of the secrecy of vote
- At polling station #36 of Lagodekhi election district (#15), facts of voters taking photos of ballot boxes in voting booths are taking place on a massive scale.
- At polling station #49 of Telavi election district (#17), UNM representative took a video of a voter exiting the voting booth, which made identification of the voter’s choice possible.
- At polling station #33 of Tsalka election district (#25), voters took unfolded ballot papers from the voting booth in a way that allowed others to identify which party/candidate they voted for.
- At polling station #18 of Dedoplistskaro election district (#14), voters are marking their choice outside voting booths, with unknown individuals accompanying them in the voting booth citing that they are not literate in Georgian and that they are helping them make their choice.
- At polling station #13 of Chokhatauri election district (#62), there were several cases of voters folding their ballot papers outside the voting booth. The PEC chair reacted to the violation only after the observer’s appeal.
- At polling station #36 of Gurjaani election district (#12), a voter was accompanied in the voting booth by an observer of the “New Initiative for Democrats” organization.
Recording of voters’ faces
- At polling station #60 of Isani election district (#5), representative of a media outlet NewPost is taking photos of voters at the polling station.
- At polling station #59 of Rustavi election district (#20), representative of a media outlet NewPost was taking photos of voters at the polling station, and was sending it to a server using a special program.
- At polling station #2 of Mtatsminda election district (#1), representative of a media outlet NewPost is taking photos of all voters casting their ballots in the ballot box.
Voting by unauthorized individuals
- At polling station #8 of Tskaltubo election district (58), a voter who was registered in the mobile box list voted at the polling station.
- At polling station #120 of Kutaisi election district (59), a voter who was registered in the mobile box list voted at the polling station.
- At polling station #52 of Ozurgeti election district (60), a voter who was registered in the mobile box list voted at the polling station.
- At polling station #21 of Gardabani election district (21), a voter registered in the mobile box list voted through mobile voting. Later, the voter showed up at the polling station and voted again.
Violations concerning the ballot box
- At polling station #2 of Tsageri election district (#45), there were 17 ballots places in the mobile box instead of 16 ballots. ISFED requests annulment of mobile box results.
Interference in election commission’s work
- At polling station #7 of Kaspi election district (#30), a Georgian Dream observer was helping a registrar in fulfilling his/her functions.
- At polling station #9 of Mtsatsminda election district (#1), an observer of organization “Ertad Sakhlshi” Lia Gujejiani was interfering in the activity of commission members. Despite numerous calls by the PEC chair, she continued, followed by her expulsion from the polling station.
- At polling station #9 of Ninotsminda election district (#41), an observer Haikanush Pazanian is agitating in front of voters.
Disorder at polling station
- At polling station #24 of Mtskheta election district (#27), more than two persons are standing at registrar’s table.
Incorrect placement of ballot papers
- At polling station #11 of Vani election district (#53), a voter placed ballot papers in the ballot box in separate envelopes. Ballot box supervisor failed to react to it timely.
- At polling station #59 of Samgori election district (#6), a voter took an envelope it in the voting booth, exited with ballot papers placed in the envelope and put it in the ballot box in that manner.
Violations of COVID-19 regulations
- At polling station #14 of Gurjaani election district (#12), PEC members checked the temperatures of voters.
- At polling station #54 of Batumi election district (#79), commission members are improperly carrying facemasks. The violation was not resolved despite numerous calls by the observer.
Violations concerning the voters list
- At polling station #49 of Zestaponi election district (#51), a voter signed the voters list in another voter’s
- At polling station #16 of Keda election district (#80), a registrar signed the voters list twice in the voter’s
- At polling station #84 of Rustavi election district (#20), a voter signed the voters list in another voter’s
- At polling station #1 of Terjola election district (#49), the number of ballots handed out to voters did not match the number of signatures. Namely, the number of ballots of proportional list was 27, while the number of signatures was 26.
- At polling station #11 of Vake election district (#2), a registrar had a voter sign the voters list in another voter’s section.
Violation of inking procedure
- At polling station #43 of Didube election district (#8), two commission members cast ballot without having their inking checked.
Inaccurate filling in of the ballot box control sheet
- At polling station #64 of Kutaisi election district (#59), the PEC members indicated in the control sheet the information of a voter who was registered at a different location.
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 a violation of the electoral process by sending a text to this toll-free number 90039.
ISFED urges 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 reminds all voters to wear a mask and adhere to the designated safety procedures when voting, including those registered on the mobile ballot box list.
For these elections, the CEC has created 127 polling stations (out of 3,795) as special COVID stations for counting the votes of those placed in self-quarantine. Such voters will cast their votes through mobile box.
ISFED will release the next statement at 22:00
ISFED's monitoring mission is made possible by the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union (EU). The opinions expressed herein belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID, the United States Government or the EU.