VOTING PROCESS BY 20:00
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.
At this time, according to ISFED observers, the revealed irregularities and shortcomings are still related to the by-elections in Batumi.
The perimeter of Batumi # 69, # 77, # 79, # 89, and # 100 polling stations was especially problematic. The observers recorded the facts of verbal confrontation, voter mobilization, and registration. Voter mobilization and registration were mainly carried out by Georgian Dream coordinators and party observers.
A case of alleged voter bribery by an observer accredited by the Policy and Law Observer was revealed near Batumi # 79 polling station.
During the voting process, cases of violation of the rules of voting and arrangement of the polling station, inadequate production of documents and possible attempts to influence the voters were revealed in the polling stations of Batumi district.
In Batumi the number of voters exceeded over 1500 not only at # 89 polling station but also at, # 23 (1710 voters), # 58 (1616 voters), # 69 (1505 voters), # 76 (1788 voters), # 92 (1566 voters), # 104 (1624 voters).
The election process in Rustavi-Gardabani # 12 majoritarian constituency was held in a peaceful and uninterrupted environment.
Violations revealed at the polling station
ISFED observation revealed the following violations in Batumi:
Violation of voting rules
In Batumi, at the # 89 polling station the registrar made the voter from the list of the mobile ballot box to vote at the station.
Violation of the rules of election documents
In Batumi at polling station # 76, the persons carrying the mobile ballot box returned one less unused ballot paper. Commission members say they do not know where the ballot is.
Violation of the rules of arranging the polling station
In Batumi # 76 polling station there are 1788 voters registered, and instead of 4 polling booths provided by law (1 polling booth for 500 voters), only 3 polling booths are located in the polling station.
A possible attempt to influence the voter
In Batumi # 78 polling station, the chairperson addressed one of the voters during the verification procedure with the following words: "Do you know who to vote for?”. During the registration of the complaint by ISFED, the chairperson of the commission wrote explanations to the members of the commission about the denial of the fact.
Trends observed on the perimeter of the polling station
(08:00 - 20:00)
A suspicious gathering of people was detected at # 79 and # 89 polling stations in Batumi, both 100 meters from the polling station and 100 meters away. A suspicious gathering at Batumi # 69 and # 91 polling stations was observed only more than 100 meters from the polling station.
In the vicinity of Batumi # 77, # 79, # 89 and # 100 polling stations, the mobilization of the Georgian Dream coordinators was observed. Coordinators of the United National Movement were also present at # 79 and # 100 polling stations.
Voter registration at Batumi # 79 and # 89 polling stations was conducted by Georgian Dream coordinators and, presumably, by accredited observers from various political organizations, including the Observatory of Politics and Law, the International Observatory of Barristers and Lawyers, and the United Youth Union "and others.
An observer of the "Politics and Law Observer" near the # 79 polling station in Batumi was conducting election agitation. He called on the voters to color # 41 (the serial number of the candidate of "Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia"). Agitators 100 meters from the same polling station stopped voters and told them to color # 41 on their ballot papers. Agitation was allegedly carried out at # 91 polling station as well. Approximately 200 meters from the polling station, people in a car placed in the morning periodically communicated with voters who had come to vote.
Verbal confrontation and/or threats were observed near Batumi # 77 and # 89 polling stations. At polling station # 77, an argument was instigated by a remark made by a citizen to the coordinator of the Georgian Dream about his mobilization of voters. The incident was rectified after police forced both men to leave the area. Journalists of Formula TV were harassed and verbally abused at the same polling station. An additional police team was called during the incident to calm the situation. Journalists and cameramen of TV Pirveli and Channel 25 were threatened and verbally abused by persons near # 89 polling station.
Organized (multiple) mobilization/transportation of voters to vote was observed at # 79 and # 89 polling stations in Batumi. Georgian Dream coordinators and related observers from various organizations were involved in the process, including the Observatory of Politics and Law, the United Youth Union of Georgia, International Observatory of Barristers and Lawyers, New Adjara, Alternative NGO, and others. As lines of voters were no longer observed at polling stations, coordinators called voters who had not yet cast their ballots and asked them to come to the polling station.
Voters were mobilized at Batumi # 79 polling station through telephone communication. The process was led by an observer accredited on behalf of the Policy and Law Observer.
Verbal communication related to alleged bribery took place near Batumi # 79 polling station. The conversation was related to the promise to hand over the fuel coupon to the voters. According to a report by an ISFED observer, the coupons were later handed over to them by an observer accredited by the Policy and Law Observer.
At present, ISFED observers have filed 6 complaints with the Batumi District Election Commission # 79.04. 6 complaints were registered with the Precinct Election Commissions and 5 notes were recorded in the record book.
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