Voting Process by 15:00
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is monitoring the October 31, 2020 Parliamentary Elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED Election Day Observation Mission consists of around 1000 accredited and trained observers deployed to polling stations, 73 observers deployed at district electoral commissions and 78 mobile groups. ISFED also operates PVT and Incident Centers in the central office with 20 operators and 11 lawyers. The current elections are taking places during a global pandemic: COVID-19. ISFED staff and observers are following the safety guidelines as necessitated by COVID-19 while they conduct their observation duties.
The Election Day Mission is a continuation of ISFED’s observation of the pre-election period, which commenced on June 1 and included deploying 68 Long-Term Observers (LTOs), as well as the analysis of the social media environment.
ISFED’s Election Day observation of the Parliamentary Elections is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, where PVT observers are deployed to a statistically a sound, nationally representative sample of polling stations throughout the country. The PVT methodology enables ISFED to quickly detect violations, systematically evaluate the quality of the entire Election Day process, and verify the accuracy official results of the proportional race within a small margin of error.
In this statement, ISFED presents information about the voting process as of 15:00.
Mobilization of voters and facts of recording of the names of voters took a more massive form. ISFED documented 18 such cases in 11 election districts. At several polling stations, ISFED also recorded facts of taking of photos of voters. ISFED believes that such actions may jeopardize the free expression of voters will. Therefore, ISFED would like to call on the political parties, election subjects and candidates to quit using the practice.
Violations of the secrecy of vote remains salient again. Procedures for inking voters were violated at several polling stations. Registrars were handing out ballot papers in violation at certain polling stations.
As of 15:00, ISFED observers filed 47 complaints at Precinct Election Commissions, 33 complaints at District Election Commissions and 21 entries in the record book.
Voter Turnout by 12:00 (PVT Results)
According to ISFED, voter turnout across the country by 12:00 was 19.1%, (with a margin of error of +/-0.2%). This is a statistically insignificant decrease compared to the 2016 Parliamentary elections (19.7%).
Voter turnout in Tbilisi by 12:00 was 18.2%, which represents a slight increase in comparison to the turnout on the same hour in the 2016 elections (17.9%). In regions (outside Tbilisi) voter turnout was 19.4%, while the voter turnout by 12:00 in regions for the 2016 elections was 20.6%.
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 72.1% of polling stations (70.7% in 2016), the commission processed, on average, one voter per minute, while in 27.9% of polling stations (29.3% in 2016) the commission processed 1 to 2 voters per minute.
The voting process in 96.2% of polling stations is being carried out in line with the COVID-19 regulations.
As of 15:00, ISFED observers have reported following violations:
Attempts to control the will of the voters
- At polling station #30 of Kharagauli election district (#48), the Georgian Dream coordinators carrying voters lists were present in front of the polling station entrance and were recording the names and the last names of voters. The mayoral representative and a Sakrebulo member were also present.
- At polling station #13 of Telavi election district (#17), the Georgian Dream representatives, standing within 30 meters from the polling station, were recording the names and the last names of voters. At polling station #40 of Telavi election district, a similar practice is underway.
- At polling station #1 of Rustavi election district (#20), individuals are seating in a nearby-parked car and are recording the names and the last names of voters.
- At polling station #32 of Tkibuli election district (#57), individuals with voters lists were seating in a car and were stopping voters before they enter the polling station. They changed the location once a commission member gave them a warning.
- At polling stations #1, #30 and #2 of Terjola election district (#49), the coordinators were recording the names and the last names of voters. At polling station #2, a GD representative instructed the driver to bring more voters since the queue was becoming smaller.
- At polling station #28 of Kvareli election district (#16), the Georgian Dream representative at the PEC has a voters list and is recording the names and the last names of voters.
- At polling stations #20 and #6 of Akhmeta election district (#18), the Georgian Dream and UNM representatives inside and outside the polling stations are recording the names and the last names of voters.
- At polling station #69 of Marneuli election district (#22), a registrar is recording the names and the last names of voters on a separate sheet of paper.
- At polling station #14 of Sachkhere election district (#50), the Georgian Dream coordinators are seating with voters lists and recording the names and the last names of voters.
- At polling stations #16 and #17 of Aspindza election district (#39), individuals accredited by the observer organization “the International Observatory of Lawyers and Jurists” are recording the names and the last names of voters in front of the polling station. At the same time, they are acting aggressively against ISFED observers.
- At polling stations #9, #15 and #6 of Kutaisi election district (#59), the Georgian Dream coordinators standing outside the polling stations are recording the names and last names of voters.
Taking of photos of voters
- At polling station #13 of Telavi election district (#17), at polling station #65 of Rustavi election district (#20), at polling station #90 of Saburtalo election district (#3), at polling station #52 of Ozurgeti election district (#60), at polling station #24 of Zugdidi election district (67), representatives of a media outlet NewPost are taking photos of voters at the polling stations and in the vicinity.
Violation of the secrecy of vote
- At polling station #9 of Krtsanisi election district (#4), a voter placed in the envelope a ballot paper together with his/her voting card and announced it out loud.
- At polling station #32 of Zugdidi election district (#67), a voter marked his choice in the ballot paper outside the voting booth.
- At polling station #1 of Rustavi election district (#20), from 8:00 am to 11:30am video surveillance camera placed above the voting booth was turned on, which allegedly allowed identification of voters’ choices.
Violations related to handing of ballots
- At polling station #54 of Vake election district (#2), the registrar cut the ballot paper from the paper stack in a way that left numbers 1 and 2 on the stack spine, and hence, parties representing these numbers did not appear on the ballot paper. ISFED observer found 22 such ballot papers (11 for proportional and 11 for majoritarian contest).
- At polling station #2 of Khulo election district (#84), the registrar had ballot papers of majoritarian candidates only, which he/she was handing out to voters, including for proportional contest. The registrar handed out the ballot papers to 30 voters, meaning that 60 ballot papers of majoritarian candidates were distributed.
Violation of inking procedure
- At polling station #39 of Didube election district (#8), a voter cast ballot without having his/her inking checked.
- At polling station #40 of Mtatsminda election district (#1), a voter was identified to have the inking, but the voter flow regulator allowed the person to enter the polling station, and the registrar handed the ballot paper and let him/her vote.
- At polling station #11 of Vake election district (#2), the registrar applied the inking mistakenly; the voter’s name and last name matched someone else’s name and last name, but the identification number was different and he/she was registered at a different location.
- At polling station #65 of Rustavi election district (20), a voter who had the inking detected, was still allowed to cast a ballot.
- At polling station #46 of Isani election district (#5), a commission member inked the voter who was registered at another location.
- At polling station #14 of Tetritskaro election district (#26), the voter flow regulator did not check the inking and the ID of a voter.
Placing of ballot papers in incorrect boxes
- At polling station #17 of Poti election district (#70), the ballot paper that was supposed to be placed in the main ballot box was placed in the mobile box.
- At polling station #1 of Abasha election district (#63), the ballot paper that was supposed to be placed in the main ballot box was placed in a container designated for storing individual pens.
- At polling station #11 of Vake election district (#2), a voter placed proportional and majoritarian ballot papers in the ballot box in separate envelopes.
Failure to fulfil commission member’s functions
- The polling station #52 of Saburtalo election district (#3) is crowded and the situation is chaotic. The voter flow regulator is letting voters inside without standing in the queue.
- At polling station #46 of Isani election district (#5), a commission member refused to register ISFED observer’s complaint.
- At polling station #24 of Mtskheta election district (#27), the ballot box supervisor is not properly fulfilling his/her functions. As a result, there is a high concentration of voters at the ballot box.
- At polling station #31 of Marneuli election district (#22), for 40 minutes, the voter flow regulator was letting voters enter the polling station without checking their IDs.
Violations concerning the COVID-19 regulations
- At polling station #73 of Isani election district (#5), more than two persons are allowed at a registrar’s table. The voter flow regulator is not properly controlling the queue.
- At polling station #26 of Marneuli election district (#22), PEC members checked the temperatures of voters from 8:00am to 11:00am, but quit the practice after an observer protested against it.
- At polling station #11 of Marneuli election district (#22), the PEC chair and a commission member disregarded the obligation to carry facemasks. They refused to put the facemasks on regardless of warnings.
Violations concerning the voters list
- At polling station #81 of Marneuli election district (#22), a voter and a registrar signed the voters list in the wrong section.
Interference in election commission’s work
- At polling station #24 of Zugdidi election district (#67), a representative registered by a media outlet was fulfilling the functions of the voter flow regulator.
Inaccurate filling in of the ballot box control sheet
- At polling station #18 of Khelvachauri election district (#83), the PEC members indicated in the control sheet the name and the last name of a voter who was not registered in that particular precinct.
- At polling station #40 of Kareli election district (#33), the PEC chair placed two control sheets in the main ballot box instead of one.
Delay of voting procedures
- At polling station #43 of Saburtalo election district (#3), the voting process started with a 30-minute delay.
ISFED allows you to follow the election process online, by going to the elections web-portal – www.electionsportal.ge, where election violations are immediately posted on the elections map. In addition, anyone can report a violation of the electoral process by sending a text to this toll-free number 90039.
ISFED urges 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 all voters to wear a mask and adhere to the designated safety procedures when voting, including those registered on the mobile ballot box list.
For these elections, the CEC has created 127 polling stations (out of 3,795) as special COVID stations for counting the votes of those placed in self-quarantine. Such voters will cast their votes through mobile box.
ISFED will release the next statement at 19:00
ISFED's monitoring mission is made possible by the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union (EU). The opinions expressed herein belong solely to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID, the United States Government or the EU.