Voter Turnout for 12:00 and the Voting Process
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the June 15, 2014 local self-government elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED’s observation mission consists of approximately 1,300 accredited and trained observers, including 80 mobile teams, deployed to precinct, district and central election commissions throughout the country.
ISFED’s Election Day observation is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, which enables us to timely detect violations, systematically evaluate the Election Day process and verify the accuracy of the official election results. ISFED has more than ten years of experience in implementing the PVT. These local elections are the eighth elections for which ISFED is using the PVT methodology to evaluate the Election Day process and to project results.
For the June 15, 2014 local self-government elections ISFED deployed observers to:
• a nationally representative, random sample of 300 polling stations throughout Georgia;
• a representative, random sample of 349 polling stations in Tbilisi; and
• all polling stations 11 self-governing cities: Kutaisi, Rustavi, Batumi, Poti, Telavi, Mtskheta, Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Ambrolauri, Ozurgeti and Zugdidi.
For these local elections, voters will elect 2,088 council members to 71 local councils (Sakrebulos). In addition, 12 self-governing cities will elect mayors and other municipalities will elect 59 chief executives (Gamgebelis). This is the first time that mayors (outside of the Tbilisi) and Gamgebelis will be directly elected.
In this statement, ISFED presents information about voter turnout as of 12:00 and any violations that have been reported by this time.
ISFED would like to highlight that turnout for the whole country is lower in this election (16.6% with a margin of error of +/-0.2%1 ) than it was in 2010 (19.9%).
ISFED notes that turnout tends to be higher in the more rural regions and lower in the more urban areas. ISFED has found the following voter turnout in self-governing cities as of 12:00:
Tbilisi – 12.7% (with a margin of error of +/-0.3%2 ), which is lower than the turnout nationally; Mtskheta - 21%, which is much higher as compared to the turnout in the whole country; Rustavi - 14%; Gori - 12%; Akhaltsikhe - 15%; Telavi - 13%; Batumi- 13%; Ozurgeti- 20%; Kutaisi- 12%; Zugdidi- 13%; Poti- 18%; Ambrolauri- 27%, which is the highest turnout (as of 12:00) out of all the self-governing cities.
As of 15:00, ISFED’s observers have reported:
• Campaigning inside the polling stations - 4 cases of campaigning have been observed at Rustavi #63, Gori #12, Batumi #13 and Lanchkhuti #24 precincts. These mainly were cases of direct campaigning in support of specific candidates or blocs; as well as individuals wearing t-shirts with numbers of electoral subjects. Unfortunately, Chairpersons of the Election Commissions allowed these individuals into the polling stations and failed to adequately respond to the cases of campaigning;
• Voting with improper documents - 6 cases of voting with improper documents were observed at Mtsatsminda #14, Zugdidi #74, Samgori #77, Kutaisi #64, Akhmeta #18 and Vake #19 precincts. These cases were related to voting without a IDP certificate, or using a birth certificate and a driver’s license;
• Pre-signed voters’ lists – 3 cases in Batumi #79 and 82 and Chokhatauri #8 precincts;
• Violation of inking procedure: 10 cases of voting without the ink or without checking the ink were observed in Batumi #97, #1, 56, Akhaltsikhe #34, Mestia #1, Telavi #45, Kaspi #7 and Chughureti #16 precincts;
• Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station – 8 cases in Isani #47, Mtsatsminda #22, Kaspi #30, Akhmeta #18, Kobuleti #19, Aspindza #1, Ozurgeti #47 and Shuakhevi #38 precincts. These cases involved people without accreditation and candidates present at the polling stations;
• Limiting the rights of observers – 5 cases observed in Terjola #27, Martvili #12, Lanchkhuti #9, Batumi #30 and Nadzaladevi #64 precincts. Chairpersons and Secretaries of the polling stations prevented the observers from making notes in the precinct record book.
As of now, ISFED observers have filed 2 complaints at the precinct election commissions, and 29 complaints at the district election commissions.
Together with partner organizations, ISFED posts the results of its monitoring online by means of elections web portal – www.electionsportal.ge, where election violations reported by the three non-governmental organizations are immediately pinpointed on a map. Further, any citizen can send information about electoral violations by sending a free SMS to the number 90039.
ISFED observers report information to the Data Analysis Center in Tbilisi via short text messages (SMSs), phone calls, and tablet PCs. The Data Analysis Center is comprised of 20 data operators, 20 lawyers, and the staff of the Central Office. ISFED has built a sophisticated PVT database that processes the observers’ texts and automatically gives observers feedback based on an artificial intelligence algorithm. All observer data undergoes several quality control tests and, once those tests have been passed, the data is analyzed and incorporated into ISFED’s findings.
ISFED would like to remind voters to have one of the documents listed below 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 participate in the elections and to freely express their will by voting in favor of a candidate of their choice.
ISFED will issue next statement at 19:00.
1. The margin of error was calculated using a 95% confidence level. According to the laws of probability, this means that 95 times out of 100 times the official number should be within the margin of error (i.e, the CEC number should be between 16.4% and 16.8%).
2. The margin of error was calculated using a 95% confidence level
This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of ISFED and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Election activities including this report are kindly supported by the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia