Voting Process and Closing of Polling Station
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the second round of 2018 Presidential Elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of 651 short-term observers (STO) at polling stations, 73 observers deployed at district electoral commissions (DECs) and 78 mobile teams. ISFED observers are also present at 12 polling stations abroad. PVT and Incident Centers are operating in the central office staffed with 15 operators and 10 lawyers.
ISFED’s observation of the second round of 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 99.7% of PVT observers.
Based on the analysis of the information received through the PVT, ISFED concludes that the voting process at most of the polling stations throughout Georgia was conducted generally in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the law. However, during the voting process, violations of voters’ secrecy of vote remained as the most problematic. Outside of polling stations mobilization of coordinators and supporters of Georgian Dream and of Salome Zourabichvili were at massive scale. They were tracking the voters who came to the precincts, which is the continuation of an infamous malpractice of attempted influence on voters’ will. Cases of violations of secrecy of vote on Election Day and practice of tracking the voters once again highlight the problems related to the environment of intimidation and harassment during the pre-election period and its negative effect on the electoral process.
Near the closing of polling stations, ISFED observed isolated serious incidents, such as: loss of table version of the voters’ list, unauthorized intrusion at precinct with an attempt of kidnapping a mobile ballot box. Other violations observed at this stage were mainly connected to the procedural shortcoming.
At this time, ISFED observers have filed 46 complaints with Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs) and 54 complaints with District Electoral Commissions (DECs).
Detailed Information from the PVT
- At 99.2% of polling stations across Georgia, voters cast their ballots using proper voter identification. This figure is statistically identical to that of the first round of elections (99.7%).
- Inking was always properly checked at 98.5% of polling stations, which is statistically almost no different from the first round of elections, when inking was checked at 97.1% of polling stations.
- At 99.7% of polling stations, the ballot papers were properly validated with a signature and seal. This figure is not statistically different from the first round elections (99.1%).
- At 99.7% of polling stations, voters were always properly inked. This figure is statistically not significantly different from the first round of elections when voters were properly inked at 98.6% of the polling stations.
- The secrecy of vote was always ensured at 98.3% of the polling stations. This figure is similar to the first round of elections (98.6%).
- The cases of physical violence, pressure and threat were identified at 1.6% of polling station, which is a slight worsening compared to the first round of elections (0.8%).
As of now, ISFED observers have reported following violations:
Loss of electoral documentation
- At PEC #20 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), a table version of the voters list got lost. This caused a temporary suspension of the voting process and police were present at the precinct. Voting resumed however voters who were in the lost list were not allowed to cast a vote. ISFED requested annulment of the results of this polling station.
Break into the PEC by unidentified individuals
- At PEC #37 of the election district #20 (Rustavi), unidentified individuals broke into the premises of the polling station and attempted to kidnap a mobile ballot box. They broke the precinct doors, however were unable to get a hold of the ballot box. After resistance from the commission members, the intruders ran away. Currently, police are present at PEC and vote count is in progress.
Alleged attempt to influence the voters’ will
- At PECs #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #20, #25, #26 and #27 of the election district #36 (Borjomi), Georgian Dream members were mobilized. They had papers, likely lists which they used to track the voters.
- At PEC #10 of the election district #33 (Kareli), Georgian Dream members were mobilized with lists. A Chairperson of the Sakrebulo (City Assembly) was present at PEC and was campaigning.
Number of ballot papers exceeding the number of signatures
- At PEC #39 of the election district #35 (Khashuri); at PEC #25 of the election district #11 (Sagarejo) and at PEC #12 of the election district #62 (Chokhatauri), there were cases when one extra ballot paper was issued to the voters.
Violations of the secrecy of vote
- At PEC #5 of the election district #44 (Ambrolauri), a voter took a photograph of ballot paper in the voting booth.
- At PEC #27 of the election district #33 (Kareli), two cases of taking photographs of ballot papers in the voting booth were identified.
Violations regarding mobile ballot box
- At PEC #22 of the election district #30 (Kaspi) and at PEC #8 of the election district #81 (Kobuleti), voters of mobile ballot box were not noted in the general lists.
Presence of unauthorized persons at PEC
- At PEC #35 of the election district #60 (Ozurgeti), a representative of Christian-Conservative Party of Georgia was present at precinct during the entire election day.
Signature by another voter
At PEC #100 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), a voter found another voter’s signature in his field.
Violation of inking procedure
- At PEC #38 of the election district #51 (Zestaponi), a registrar did not ink a voter.
Irregularities related to ID cards
- At PEC #11 of the election district #10 (Gldani), a voter belonging to mobile ballot box list, was allowed to vote without an ID card.
- At PEC #5 of election district #22 (Marneuli), there was one case when a voter arrived with an old (laminated) ID card, however according to ISFED observer the voter possesses a new biometric ID.
ISFED allows citizens to follow the election process online via Elections Portal – www.electionsportal.ge, where election violations are immediately posted on the incident map. In addition, anyone can report violation of the electoral process by sending a text to a toll-free number 90039.
ISFED will issue next statement on November 29
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) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The Mission is also supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Runoff Election Day observation is carried out with financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) and the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 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, NED, the United States Government, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Norwegian Embassy, British Embassy, or EED.