VOTING PROCESS BY 13:00
Information about the observation mission
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy is observing the by-elections of the Parliament of Georgia and the Sakrbulo on April 2, 2022. Voters will be electing an MP in the Rustavi-Gardabani district and a Sakrebulo member in Batumi. The ISFED monitoring mission consists of 9 mobile groups, 20 precincts and 3 district monitors. On the voting day, data and information centers are operating in the central office of ISFED.
ISFED is monitoring the election day processes from the opening of polling stations to the completion of the tabulation of results. ISFED has been monitoring the entire pre-election period of the by-elections as well.
According to ISFED observers, most of the irregularities and tendencies recorded during the monitoring is related to the Batumi by-elections.
In Rustavi and Gardabani, as well as in Batumi electoral discricts, the organization's observers were allowed to enter and observe all polling stations without restriction.
In Batumi # 89, # 90, # 92 and # 100 polling stations chaos is observed and it is difficult to thoroughly monitor the process due to the lack of space and the large number of people entitled to be present at the polling station.
In Batumi # 23, # 69, # 79, # 89, # 90, # 92 and # 100 polling stations, the voting process was delayed, mainly due to the malfunction of verification devices and in some cases, scanners.
On the outer perimeter of Batumi # 77, # 79, # 89, and # 91 polling stations, the presence of coordinators and observers acting for political purposes and mobilization of voters by them is observed. Suspicious rallies are also reported at some polling stations.
2015 voters are registered at Batumi # 89 polling station. According to the imperative requirement of the Election Code, a polling station is established for no more than 1,500 voters, and the District Election Commission clarifies the boundaries of polling stations no later than 50 days before the election. ISFED reported on the pre-election monitoring of the by-elections, with a significant increase in the number of voters at this polling station, most of whom were registered one day before the Election Day, possibly in an organized manner. As a result, voter registration was carried out by bypassing the imperative requirement of the law. The District Election Commission, which is responsible for determining the boundaries of the precinct, should not have allowed an unlawful number of voters to combine at this precinct.
Considering the overcrowding in the polling station, caused by limited space of the polling station and the difficulties with adapting a new technology, may violate covid regulations and create a problem in terms of secrecy of the ballot.
The election process in Rustavi-Gardabani's # 12 majoritarian constituency is taking place in a calm environment.
Violations revealed at the polling station
During the mentioned period, ISFED observers revealed the following violations in Batumi
# 79.04 majoritarian constituency:
Violation of the secrecy of the ballot
A malfunction of the scanner was observed at the # 100 polling station in Batumi. Approximately, every 5th voter's ballot was returned back. The returned ballots have marker ink leaked on the back of the ballot, therefore, a voter’s choice could be identified. Thus violating the principle of secrecy of the ballot.
Agitation at the polling station
At the # 79 polling station in Batumi, a representative of the United National Movement was announced with a T-shirt with the inscription - Nugzar Putkaradze (name of the deceased member of the Batumi Sakrebulo), which may be considered as agitation.
Violation of the precinct arrangement
2015 voters are registered at Batumi # 89 polling station, however, only 3 electoral booths are located at the polling station, while according to the law, 1 booth for every 500 voters must be provided. Due to the narrowness of the space at the same polling station and the large number of persons entitled to be present at the polling station, observers are prevented from exercising their rights properly. At the same time, there is a risk of violating the secrecy of the ballot.
Violation of Covid regulations
COVID 19 regulations were violated at Batumi # 90 polling station. In particular, about 15 people did not wear a face mask. Despite the remark, some persons present at the polling station did not follow the instructions.
A member of the commission was presented at Batumi # 79 polling station with a badge and a driver's license. A member of the commission was allowed to enter the polling station in agreement with the district election commission.
Trends observed on the perimeter of the polling station:
Repeated mobilization of voters was observed at the # 77 polling station in Batumi by the same means of transport.
In Batumi, the observer of the "Politics and Justice Observer" near the # 79 polling station is entering into suspicious communication with the voters. Most probably the "Georgian Dream" coordinators are also mobilized near the polling station.
Coordinators and accredited observers at Batumi # 89 polling station are mobilizing voters.
Long gatherings of people are observed near Batumi # 91 polling station. Persons in a car parked about 200 meters from the polling station in the morning periodically communicate with voters who have come to vote.
At this time, ISFED observers have submitted 2 complaints to the precinct election commissions of Batumi # 79.04 majoritarian district; 5 remarks were made in the record book and 1 complaint was submitted to Batumi District Election Commission.
ISFED continues to monitor the election process and periodically announces observation results to the public.
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy observation mission is supported by the American people and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 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 and the United States Government
 The number of voters may be increased to 2,000 at polling stations where the Ministry of Defense of Georgia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, a state sub-agency within the system - the Special Penitentiary Service, the State Security Service, the Georgian Intelligence Service, and the Special State Protection Service Employees and persons with special ranks whose working conditions or state of health require their presence on an election day at an address other than the place of registration belonging to another constituency.