International Society of Fair Elections and Democracy carried out observation of the April 28 Parliamentary By-Elections in Khoni-Vani #54 Majoritarian District through 25 short-term observers (STOs), 2 District Election Commission (DEC) observers and 2 mobile teams. The central office ran data analysis and incident centers.
Based on the information received from ISFED observers, the voting process, closing of polling stations, counting and tabulation proceeded in a generally calm environment without significant violations. In some precincts procedural violations were observed.
April 28 by-elections outlined a trend of high percentage of voters included in mobile ballot box lists which in majority of polling stations equaled or exceeded 3% threshold set by the Election Code. According to the Election Code, in case the number of voters in the mobile ballot box list of a precinct exceeds 3% of the total number of voters in the voter list of the polling station, after reaching this threshold decision on including a voter in a mobile ballot box list of a polling station is made by the relevant DEC. April 26 decision #13/2018 of #53 Vani District Election Commission lacks sufficient substantiation on inclusion of additional voters in the mobile ballot box lists. This casts doubts on the appropriateness of including voters in mobile ballot box lists. High percentage of voters in the mobile ballot box lists of the polling stations could bear a potential risk of electoral manipulation since the procedures of voting though mobile ballot box increase potential of such manipulation.
ISFED filed 4 complaints at the DEC and 5 entries were made in precinct record books.
ISFED observers have reported six violations.
- At the polling stations #13 and #20 of the election district #54-53 (Vani) and at the polling stations #11 and #12 of the election district #54-55 (Khoni) the registrars each handed a ballot paper to a voter without voter signature in the voters list.
- At the polling station of #9 of the election district #54-53 (Vani) two observers were present from one organization ("Initiative for Civil Society"). One of the unauthorized persons left the polling station after ISFED observer made a remark.
- At the polling station #11 of the election district #54-55 (Khoni) summary protocol was filled with error, namely the total number of voters that participated was written incorrectly.
ISFED representatives will attend and participate in the discussion of complaints filed by the organization at DEC.
ISFED Observation Mission is made possible with the generous support from the American people through t the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The views expressed in this statement belong solely to ISFED and may not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.