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 information about voter turnout as of 17:00 and violations that have been reported by 19:00.
According to ISFED observers, the disturbing trend of mobilization of Georgian Dream party activists and so called coordinators outside of polling stations with the purpose of tracking the voters still continues. In isolated cases, PECs members were themselves tracking the voters who came or did not come to the polling stations. This is the continuation of a negative trend established in Georgia and it represents an attempt to control the free will of voters.
Several procedural violations were identified at precincts, including noteworthy violations related to mobile ballot box voting. During the period from 15:00 until the time of this statement, other procedural violations have not reached a large scale.
At the moment of the statement ISFED has filed 37 complaints at the PECs and 38 complaints at the DECs.
Voter Turnout by 17:00 (PVT Results)
According to ISFED, voter turnout by 17:00 is 47.2%, (with a margin of error of +/-0.6%), which is higher than the first round of Presidential Elections when voter turnout by 17:00 was 38.6%.
Voter turnout in Tbilisi by 17:00 was 45.8%, which is an increase in comparison to the turnout by 17:00 during the first round of elections - 35.8%. In regions (outside of Tbilisi) voter turnout was 47.5%, while the voter turnout by 17:00 in regions for the first round of elections was 38.9%.
PVT analysis allows us to calculate the average time it takes for a polling station to process a voter. According to the information recorded by the PECs, in 55.3% of polling stations, the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, in 44.5% of polling stations the commission processed 1 to 2 voters per minute; while in 0.2% of polling stations handled more than 2 voters.
As of now, ISFED observers have reported following violations:
Alleged attempt to influence the will of the voters
- Outside of the PECs #3, #15, #17, #48, #50, #62, #64, #91, #92 and #96 of the election district #32 (Gori), there was a gathering of people, mostly representatives of Georgian Dream.
- At the PECs #2, #3, #4, #12 and #16 of the election district #4 (Krtsanisi), representatives of Georgian Dream are mobilized and they hide their voting lists upon the appearance of observers. ISFED observer also witnessed a conversation on how party members were planning on bringing additional voters.
- At the PECs #11, #17, #24 and #29 of the election district #80 (Keda), representatives of Georgian Dream are mobilized at precincts.
- At the PECs #38, #73 and #90 of the election district #3 (Saburtalo), a large number of cars and probably coordinators were mobilized.
- At the PEC #45, #46 and #47 of the election district #20 (Rustavi), representatives of Georgian Dream were mobilized with cars. They were checking which voters arrived at the stations and if they supported Salome Zourabichvili.
- At the PEC #91 of the election district #59 (Kutaisi), it appeared that voters from village Bashi were brought to the precinct via a minibus.
- At the PEC #26 of the election district #27 (Mtskheta), so called coordinator from Georgian Dream stated that they were checking if the voters they approached during campaigned were coming to vote.
- At the PEC #93 of the election district #59 (Kutaisi), a commission member was recording names of voters that arrived to the polling station.
- At the PEC #10 of the election district #63 (Abasha), a commission member was collecting information about voters that did not come to the polling station. She stopped doing so after the observer pointed out the problem.
Violations of the secrecy of vote
- At the PEC #10 of the election district #2 (Vake), a voter left the voting booth with unfolded ballot paper with his choice visible. The similar violation had already been detected before at the same precinct.
Restricting the rights of observers
- At the PEC #35 of the election district #22 (Marneuli), ISFED observer wanted to make a note in the logbook, however, chairperson and secretary did not allow him to do so.
Verbal confrontation at precincts
- At PEC #35 of the election district #22 (Marneuli), verbal confrontation ensued between commission members which subsided after other commissioners intervened.
- At PEC #24 of the election district #6 (Samgori), a commissioner and a representative of the United National Movement verbally assaulted each other. This caused turmoil and disturbance. Representative of the UNM was removed from precinct with police intervention.
Violations related to voting through mobile box
- At PEC #2 of the election district #83 (Khelvachauri), 31 voters were in the mobile ballot box list. Commissioners took 35 ballots with them when they left for mobile voting. 30 voters casted votes, however commission members returned with 4 ballot papers instead of 5.
- At PEC #4 of the election district #60 (Ozurgeti), two signatures were made in the same field in the mobile ballot box list.
- At PEC #28 of the election district #5 (Isani), a voter who was in the mobile ballot box list was allowed to cast a vote at the precinct.
- At PEC #1 of the election district #84 (Khulo), after the return of the mobile ballot box, it became known that someone else voted instead of a voter on the mobile ballot box list. The voter that was on the list was apparently in a hospital at the time.
- At PEC #83 of the election district #9 (Nadzaladevi) and at PECs #13 and #15 of the election district # 81 (Kobuleti), the general voters list does not indicate voters, who were to vote by mobile ballot box.
- At PEC #72 of the election district #59 (Kutaisi), a voter’s ID number was not correctly entered in the mobile ballot box list. Consequently, a voter was unable to cast a vote.
Improper handling of electoral documentation
- At PEC #1 and #4 of the election district #60 (Ozurgeti), number of ballot papers received are not entered into the demonstrational protocols.
- At PEC #85 of the election district #3 (Saburtalo), a registrar forgot to put a signature in the voters list.
Errors in the voters’ list
- At PEC #85 of the election district #3 (Saburtalo), a voter found the name of a deceased family member in the voters list.
- At PEC #10 of the election district #22 (Marneuli), an underage voter born on January 16, 2001 was found in the list. This person was allowed to vote.
Voting by an already inked voter
- At PEC #19 of the election district #67 (Zugdidi), chairperson of the commission and a queue regulator allowed a voter who had already gone through the inking procedure to cast a vote.
- At PEC #25 of the election district #37 (Akhaltsikhe), a voter was allowed to enter the precinct with expired ID card, made a signature in the list and only afterwards they found out that ID had expired. In the end, this person was not allowed to cast a vote.
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, any citizen 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 after 22:00
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) 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.