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 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 information about opening of polling stations and commencement of voting.
All ISFED observers were able to access and monitor all of the polling stations without restrictions. Based on the information provided by ISFED observers, the opening and setting up process at the majority of polling stations took place without substantial violations.
After the start of the voting, several cases of violations of the secrecy of vote are noteworthy. ISFED observers also identified the violations of casting of lots and other procedures.
At the moment of the statement, ISFED has filed 10 complaints at the Precinct Electoral Commissions (PECs) and 5 complaints at the District Electoral Commissions (DECs).
Detailed Information from the PVT
ISFED has received reports on the opening of polling stations from 100% of PVT observers.
All ISFED observers (100%) were free to observe the opening process of the polling stations which is statistically similar to the figure from the first round of Presidential Elections (99.8%).
99.7% of the polling stations were ready to receive voters by 8:00am, which is not significantly different from the first round of elections (98.5%).
Violations related to the opening and setting up of polling stations were identified in the 0.9% of polling stations which is a slight improvement compared to the first round of elections (2.2%).
As of now, ISFED observers have reported following violations:
Violation of the secrecy of vote:
- At the polling station #26 of the election district #12 (Gurjaani), Georgian Dream representatives Lela Shankulashvili and Zurab Khandamashvili (Mayor’s brother) were checking voters after leaving the voting booth to identify which candidate they cast the vote for. Having protested this incident, a representative of the United National Movement was removed from the district. These persons also intervene in the work of PEC and gives specific instructions to the commission chair.
- At the polling station #43 of the election district #12 (Gurjaani), some voters were casting votes without entering the voting booths, while others voting in the booths, came out from the booth holding ballot papers in a manner that allowed everyone can identify their choice.
- At the polling station #2 of the election district #57 (Tkibuli), a voter casted a vote outside the voting booth.
Presence of unauthorized persons at the polling station:
- At the polling station #55 of the election district #58 (Tskaltubo), a policeman was present (in a uniform). Policemen was not a voter and did not hold the right to be present at the polling station. This person was taking pictures with a smartphone. After ISFED observer’s remark the policeman left the station. Chairperson of the commission had no reaction to this case.
Violation of observer’s rights:
- At the polling station #20 of the election district #61 (Lanchkuti) and polling station #13 of the election district #84 (Khulo) observers initially not let in by the Commission claiming that their accreditations had expired. After addressing to the district election commission, this problem was solved.
Late opening of a polling station:
- At the polling station #30 of the election district #24 (Dmanisi), precinct opened 20 minutes late due to lack of ink for the stamp.
Improper placement of control sheet in the mobile ballot box:
- At the polling station #14 of the election district #16 (Kvareli), control sheet was placed in the mobile ballot box before the arrival of the first voter.
Violations of casting of lots:
- At the polling stations #3, #11, and #62 of the election district #81 (Kobuleti), Commission members appointed by United National Movement and European Georgia refused to participate in the casting of lots for the selection of accompanying commission member of mobile ballot box.
- At the polling station #2 of the election district #69 (Chkhorotsku) commissioner refused to participate in the casting of lots for the selection of accompanying commission member of mobile ballot box.
- At the polling station #25 of the election district #79 (Batumi) chairperson of the commission did not allow one of the commission members to participate in the casting of lots. The member also agreed to this decision.
- At the polling station #59 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), commissioner appointed by Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, refused to perform any kind of function.
- At the polling station #5 of the election district #30 (Kaspi), a member of the commission refused to perform functions of queue regulator due to pregnancy, despite the function being assigned to her on the basis of casting of lots. She was tasked with fulfilling the functions of the registrar without casting a lot.
Violation of the rule of presence at the polling station
- At the polling station #51 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), a person who entered the station and held the accreditation did not undergo the registration in accordance with the rule.
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 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 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
ISFED will release its next statement at 15:30
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.