The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the presidential elections throughout Georgia, in all the electoral districts. ISFED’s observation mission consists of 1,200 accredited and trained observers for the Presidential Elections of 2013, who have been deployed to precinct, district and central election commissions. There are also 73 mobile teams throughout the country.
ISFED is observing Election Day using an internationally recognized and advanced observation methodology called a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT). ISFED has deployed 800 PVT observers to a nationally representative, random sample of polling stations in all of the 73 districts. A PVT involves deploying highly trained observers to systematically assess the conduct of the voting and counting process as well as to verify the results announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC). Unlike exit polls, a PVT does not involve observers asking a voter for their recollection on how they may have voted. PVT observers record the official figures as announced by at the sampled polling station. The official vote counts from the representative random sample of polling stations are subjected to rigorous integrity checks and then analyzed to draw projection. ISFED has been observing elections since 1995. In addition, ISFED has successfully conducted seven PVTs, including the historic PVT during 2003 elections.
ISFED presents the information about the conduct of vote count and their PVT projections for the presidential candidates.
The voting process was mostly conducted in an organized and peaceful environment. Most of the violations observed were procedural and small in nature. The major drawbacks of the day were the following: voters cast their ballot without an official ID, electoral documentation was not properly filled-out, unauthorized persons were present inside the station, and issues with voters’ lists in Batumi. Most of the violations identified by ISFED were spread throughout the country. However, in the following 12 polling stations more than one violation occurred: #25 in Mtatsminda, #2 and #20 in Chughureti, #23 in Dedopolistskaro, #47 in Bolnisi, #31 and #45 in Dusheti, #13 in Kharagauli, #26 in Zestaponi, #99 in Zuggidi, #14 in Kobuleti and #21 in Shuakhevi.
Given the reports about the conduct of the Election Day process, ISFED is confident releasing their PVT projections for the Presidential Election. Their PVT projections are based on reports received from all 100% of its 800 PVT observers.
Assessment of the Counting Process
At 98.5% of polling stations, there were not violations during the counting of the votes. This marks an improvement from the 2012 Parliamentary Elections when 96.1% of stations did not have violations during counting.
In 99.8% of polling stations, the electoral materials were properly sealed before being sent to the district election commissions. In 2012, the election materials were properly sealed at 98.0% of polling stations.
ISFED observers filed a complaint at 1.9% of polling stations. In polling stations where complaints were lodged, 86.7% percent of PECs properly registered the complaints.
The Coalition Georgian Dream and United National Movement deployed their representatives to 81.1% and 78.3% of all polling stations respectively. In 2012 Parliamentary Elections, these electoral subjects observed Election Day processes at 93.8% and 90.2% of polling stations respectively.
Turnout throughout the country was 46.9 percent with a margin of error of +/-0.9% (at a 95% confidence level). 48.2 percent of voters have participated in polls in Tbilisi, while 46.4 percent participated in the regions (i.e., outside Tbilisi). The total turnout in this election is significantly less than the 2012 Parliamentary Elections when 60.9 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. Based on the analysis of the data received through the PVT, ISFED presents their projections of the percentage of votes receive by the presidential candidates. The margin of error is +/-0.7% at a 95% confidence level:
Below are the detailed projections for the top 6 presidential candidates. The final results for each candidate to be announced by the CEC should fall within the range of projections:
ISFED’s observers reported 101 violations. The total number of reported violations is small, especially when considering that the total number of the polling stations in the entire country is more than three thousand.
ISFED observers filed 15 complaints at the Precinct Election Commissions (PEC), and 54 complaints at the District Election Commissions (DEC). Some PEC members allowed procedural violations to occur in their polling stations. As such, ISFED’s most common request was for the District Election Commissions to hold those PEC members to account and to follow through with the proper sanctions.
26 cases of improper processing/filling of the electoral documentation at polling stations: Batumi #6 #66, Terjola #24, Lagodekhi #30, Tskaltubo #25,#39, Krtsanisi #19, Rustavi #13,#59, Telavi #8, Gurjaani #16, Kaspi #4,#11,#27, Kobuleti #53, Chokhatauri #3,#12, Kutaisi #56, #65,#91,#105,#121, Dmanisi #43, Isani #5, Martvili #35, Saburtalo #76. These violations included improper filling of demonstration and summary protocols and cases where the documentaion was not properly filled out with the information as stipulated by the law;
13 cases of unauthorized people’s presence at polling stations: Akhaltsikhe #2,#4,#5,#19,#21,#31, Kaspi #36, Marneuli #50, Gurjaani #10, Dedoplistkaro #23, Martvili #33. Political parties, candidates and non-governmental organizations had more representatives at the precincts than is permitted by law;
10 cases of voting with improper documentation at polling stations: Batumi #5,#21, Kutaisi #120, Mestia #11, Marneuli #4, #56, Dusheti #22, Tianeti #2, Sighnaghi #28, Kaspi #26. Voters were using copies of their IDs or they were using a drivers linceses as ID;
8 cases of inking not being performed/checked at the polling stations: Marneuli #37, #50, Kaspi# 20 and Vake #64;
2 cases of observers’ rights restriction were reported in Batumi #2 and Marneuli #42 polling stations. Observers were not allowed to make notes in the logbook;
3 cases of late opening of the polling stations: Mestia #24, Lagodekhi #19 and Mtatsminda #29;
2 cases of restriction of rights of persons with legal rights to be at the polling station: Lagodekhi #19 and Zugdidi #103 polling stations. Accredited journalists have the right to stay at the polling station after 20:00. However, the chairperson of a polling station did not allow an accredited journalist from “Hereti” to stay after 20:00 when the station closed;
2 cases of polling stations where voters could not locate their name in the voters lists even though they believed they were in initial list at polling stations in Batumi #52 and #72 Up to 300 voters were turned away and could not vote;
2 cases of improper arrangement of the polling station in Keda # 2 and Mestia #24;
2 cases of violating the secrecy of votes at polling stations: Chokhatauri #22 and Marneuli #42;
1 case of violating the procedure of sealing the ballot box at the polling station Mtskheta #23. Ballot box was not sealed until 14:30; and
1 case of pre-made signature at the polling station: Didube #3. A voter when to sign next to their name in the voter list and found that there was already a signature next to their name.
A few cases of district commission receiving unsealed materials from the precincts occurred in Batumi, Gardabani and Gurjaani district election commissions.
Together with the partner NGOs, ISFED reports election violations to, and maps their location on, their web-portal - www.electionsportal.ge.
The ISFED’s observation mission is carried out with the support of the US people, and with funding of the USAID, NDI and EU. The opinions expressed above belong to the ISFED only and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the EU, NDI, USAID or the Government of the United States of America.