Voter Turnout as of 17:00 and Latest Violations
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 17:00 and any violations that have been reported by this time.
Turnout for 17:00 in the entire country is 34.4% according to ISFED’s PVT observation. ISFED notes that turnout at 17:00 is six percent lower than it was in the 2010 local elections (40.4%).
ISFED has found the following voter turnout in self-governing cities as of 17:00:
Tbilisi - 29.1% with a margin of error of +/-0.5% . Thus far turnout in Tbilisi city still remains below the national average; Mtskheta - 43%, whose turnout as of 17:00 is much higher than the national average; Rustavi – 28%; Gori - 27%; Akhaltsikhe – 33%; Telavi - 31%; Batumi- 29%; Ozurgeti- 40%; Kutaisi- 24%; Zugdidi- 24%; Poti- 35%; Ambrolauri- 46%, which remains the self-governing city with the highest turnout so far.
For 15:00 – 19:00, following violations have been reported by ISFED observers:
• Limiting the rights of observers – an observer at Krtsanisi #24 precinct was prevented from making notes in the precinct record book;
• Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station – 2 cases at Zugdidi # 62 and Gori #42 precincts;
• Voting with improper documents – 2 cases in Gori #1 and #3 precincts;
• Violation of inking procedure - 4 cases of voting without the ink or without checking the ink were observed at Khulo #12, Kaspi #7, Batumi #39, Akhaltsikhe #6 precincts;
• Improper documenting: 8 cases of improperly filling out election documentation were observed at Kutaisi #80, #17, #47, #92, #27, Didube #17, Gurjaani #39 and Gori #2 election precincts;
• Voters not found in the voter’s list – 4 cases observed in Kutaisi #26, Batumi #41, #7, #37 precincts;
• Registrars failing to validate the ballot paper with a stamp – 3 cases in Akhaltsikhe #8, Khulo #12 and Batumi #66 precincts.
As of now, ISFED observers have filed 14 complaints at the precinct election commissions, and 48 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 21:30.
This mission is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this statement are the responsibility of ISFED and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Election activities including this statement are kindly supported by the Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands in Georgia.