The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 30, 2016 second round of Parliamentary Elections in 50 majoritarian districts across Georgia. ISFED Observation Mission consists of approximately 700 accredited and trained observers.
Over 600 ISFED short-term observers (STOs) are monitoring voting and counting process in a national representative sample of polling stations through Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology. ISFED has observers at all polling stations in four majoritarian districts: #36 Marneuli; #44 Akhaltsikhe-Adigeni; #49 Kutaisi; and #66 Zugdidi. Additionally, 40 mobile groups and 43 DEC observers are deployed as part of the mission. PVT and Incident Centers are working at the Central Office.
According to ISFED observers, by 15:00 voting process is taking place in calm and organized manner. By the time of this statement, there have been a few cases of significant violations. Majority of these cases have been observed at majoritarian district of Marneuli.
ISFED observers have identified 1 case where violence took place at the polling station, 3 cases where the secrecy of the vote was breached, 1 case where a voter who has already gone through the inking procedure voted again, 1 case of restriction of observers’ rights, 7 cases when the documentation was not properly filled out, 1 case of voting with improper documentation, 2 cases where unauthorized persons were present at the polling station, 2 cases of failure to properly perform duties of the PEC members, and 1 case where the inking procedure was violated.
Voter Turnout by 12:00 (PVT Results)
According to ISFED, voter turnout by 12:00 is 12.7% with a margin of error of +/-0.4% which is a decline from the first round of the parliamentary elections when voter turnout by 12:00 was 19.7% (with a margin of error +/- 0.3%).
Since turnout is announced at specified times of the day, ISFED calculates the average time it takes for a polling station to process a voter. According to the information recorded by the PECs, in 96% of polling stations, the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, while in 4% of polling stations the commission processed 1-2 voters per minute.
Violations observed by ISFED at the time of the statement
Violence at the polling station
• At the polling station #8 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) the voter who had already participated in the polling entered the polling station and insulted the UNM representative verbally and physically. Voter threw at the UNM representative the objects placed on the table of registrar, presumably also a bottle of ink. The voter was taken out of the polling station and remains outside of the precinct.
Violation of inking procedure
• At the polling station #9 of the majoritarian district #65 (Zugdidi) the voter who has already gone through the inking procedure was allowed to participate in polling.
Violation of the secrecy of the vote
• At the polling station #9 of the majoritarian district #51 (Baghdati) voter marked the sequence number in the ballot paper on the table of the registrar.
• At the polling station #61 of the majoritarian district #66 (Zugdidi) voter was accompanied in the voting booth by the Georgian Dream representative.
• At the polling station #57 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) observer of the “Union 21 Century” was observing the voting process in the voting booth with violation of the secrecy of the vote and was reporting information via cell-phone.
Restriction of observers’ rights
• At the polling station #63 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) observer of the “Choice of the Future” was not allowed to record a video by the members of the PEC.
Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station
• At the polling station #28 of the majoritarian district #44 (Akhaltsikhe) one of the candidates was accompanied by the person who could not provide authorization documentations allowing them to be present at the polling station. The individual left the polling station after pictures were taken.
• At the polling station #10 of the majoritarian district #72 (Khelvachauri) two representatives of the Georgian Dream were present. The incident was resolved after the ISFED observer highlighted it.
Inadequate handling of electoral documentation
• At the polling station #9 of the majoritarian district #69 (Batumi) and the polling station #17 of the majoritarian district #70 (Batumi) the demonstration protocol was not properly filled out.
• At the polling station #41 of the majoritarian district #68 (Batumi) the voter signed their name in the wrong column.
• At the polling station #63 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) the registrar signed their name in advance on the list of the mobile ballot box.
• At the polling station #19 of the majoritarian district #39 (Kaspi) information about voters of the mobile ballot box was not provided in the list of voters.
• At the polling station #20 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) two voters did not sign on the list. After the incident was highlighted by the observer the registrar wrote an explanation note.
• At the polling station #10 of the majoritarian district #60 (Lanchkhuti) the demonstration protocol is not properly filled out.
Voting with improper documentation
• At the polling station #24 of the majoritarian district #44 (Akhaltsikhe) voter voted with the copy of ID.
Failure to fulfil their obligations by election commission members
• At the polling station #2 of the majoritarian district #36 (Marneuli) one of the registrars was not fulfilling their obligations. The incident was resolved after the ISFED observer highlighted it.
• At the polling station #14 of the majoritarian district #61 (Poti) the person responsible for regulating the voters’ flow allows voters to enter the polling station without checking their identification documents.
Voting without proper inking
• At the polling station #30 of the majoritarian district #44 (Akhaltsikhe) voter was inked without prior verification. After proper verification, turned out that the voter was not in the voter list of this particular polling station. As a result the voter could not fulfil their right to vote.
At the moment of the statement ISFED observers have filed 19 complaints at the District Electoral Commissions (DECs) and 18 complaints at the Precinct Electoral Commission (PECs). ISFED observers have made 34 entries in the record books.
Together with partner organizations, ISFED allows citizens to follow the election process online, by visiting the Elections Portal – www.electionsportal.ge; where election violations reported by three non-governmental organizations are immediately posted on the elections map. In addition, anyone can report violation of the electoral process by sending a text to a toll-free SMS number 90039. Photo or video evidences of violations can also be uploaded to the Elections Portal
ISFED observers report information to the Data Analysis Center in Tbilisi via SMS and/or phone calls. The Data Analysis Center is comprised of 10 data operators, 10 lawyers, and the staff of the Central Office. ISFED has built a sophisticated PVT database that processes the observers’ text messages. All observer data undergoes several quality control tests and, once those tests are passed, the data is analyzed and incorporated into ISFED’s findings and conclusions.
ISFED reminds voters to have one of the following documents 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 go to the polls and express their free will by voting in favor of a candidate of their choice.
ISFED will release its next statement at 19:00
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). The Runoff Election Day mission is also supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, and the European Union (EU). 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, the United States Government, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or the European Union.