Statement on the ongoing Election Day developments (07:00 - 20:30)
At this point, from our observation, we can say that the 2017 local self-government elections are being held in a largely peaceful environment. The absolute majority of the electoral precincts, where our static observers are stationed, have been opened and closed on time.
By this time, our observers have reported up to 150 insignificant and relatively serious violations. Nearly ⅔ of the registered complaints related to the recording of voter data in the precinct buildings. We have filed 113 complaints, 106 of which relate to illegal recording of voter data.
Some of the serious violations are following:
Indirect intimidation of voters at electoral precincts
By this time a very alarming trend is observed in all electoral districts in Tbilisi. Nearly in all precincts, where our static observers are stationed, there are instances of representatives of electoral subjects standing over the registrator and taking notes of the unique voter list number from the list of voters. The representatives of the Georgian Dream and Leftist Alliance are the most active in this regard. By identifying the unique voter list number, an electoral subject can compare it to the publicly displayed voter list and obtain the following personal data of the voter: name, surname, date of birth and place of registration. This can result in personal data going public and also be used for voter intimidation.
Our static observer sent us an audio recording that captures a conversation of Ketevan Kopadze, the chairperson of the 21st precinct of Saburtalo’s 3rd electoral district. The audio recording captures Kopadze saying that she had contacted the Georgian Dream, namely L. Japaridze, who told her that it was acceptable for unique voter numbers to be recorded as long as the identification number wasn’t recorded.
According to the statement by the Central Election Commission, this is not a violation. However, we do not agree with this assessment. An observer has the right to monitor the voting process, but does not have the right to record personal data of voters from the voters list and hinder the registration process.
Throughout the day, we called upon the Central Election Commission to put an end to this practice. Moreover, the Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector issued a statement on this matter.
Low qualifications of members of the precinct electoral commissions
We observed that a lot of members of PECs lacked necessary qualifications, which in turn resulted in aggressive and unconstructive behavior on their part. Moreover, the unconvincing behavior of the members of PECs caused confusion at the polling stations. There were problems with the registration of complaints as well.
Problems with registration of complaints
Our observers have been unable to file in complaints due to interference from the precinct commission secretaries in 12 precincts of 6 districts: 76th, 73rd, 27th, 13th precincts of the Gldani electoral district, 11th, 27th precincts of the Nadzaladevi electoral district, 40th, 49th precincts of the Saburtalo electoral district, 42nd, 64th precincts of the Isani electoral district, 36th precinct of the Samgori electoral district, 23rd precinct of the electoral district. In spite of the fact that the commission secretaries are obliged to register complaints when they are duly filed in, they refused to do so. They agreed to register the complaints only after our lawyers got in touch with them and explained their duties.
Our observers also encountered problems at two precincts: 60th precinct of Samgori district and 42nd precinct of Isani district. Our observers were denied clarification, which is required by law, about the basis for refusal to register the complaints. This problem was resolved only after our lawyers got involved in the matter.
Leaving complaints without consideration
In the 58th precinct of the Saburtalo district, our complaint related to the control of voter lists was registered in spite of initially being declined. Nevertheless, the complaint was not considered, which is a violation of the law.
Violation of secrecy of ballot
In the 6th precinct of the Nadzaladevi district, two persons were simultaneously voting in the polling booth. This is a violation of secrecy of ballot. TI Georgia has filed a complaint.
Interference/intimidation against our observers
A representative, allegedly from the Georgian Dream, verbally insulted and physically threatened our observer outside the territory of the 64th precinct of the 6th Samgori district.
In the 92nd precinct of the 6th Samgori district, the commission members prohibited our observer to use a camera and threatened to eject him from the precinct building.
In the 5th precinct of the 7th Chugureti district, our mobile group head was ejected from the precinct by the commission chairperson.
Interfering in the admittance of observers to the electoral precincts
In the 85th and 43rd precincts of the 6th Samgori district, for some time our observers were not admitted to the precinct by the commission members. After a brief time, the commission members admitted the observers.
Commission members refusing to participate in casting of lots
One of the commission members in the 1st electoral precincts of the 8th Didube district refused to participate in the casting of lots. Nevertheless, the head of the commission still allowed the member to perform the preferred duties. Our observer has filed a complaint on this matter.
Filling out the control sheet in violation of the rules
The control sheet at the 24th electoral precinct of the 4th Krtsanisi district was signed by the first voter, however, this voter wasn’t the registered voter for that precinct. Our observer has filed a complaint on this matter.
Voting by a voter with traces of ink
The commission at the 10th electoral precinct of the 10th Gldani district allowed a person with traces of ink on hand to vote. Our observer has filed a complaint on this matter.
Interfering in journalistic activities
In the 12th precinct of the 2nd Vake district, a group of individuals, who were loitering around the territory of the precinct, verbally and physically insulted Dato Gamisonia, an editor for Liberali.
Mobilization of voters by the use of vehicles
During the election day, there were notable instances of mobilization of voters by the use of vehicles. For example, near the territory of the 1st precinct of the Isani district, coordinators drove around to ask voters to participate in the elections.
About the Election Observation Mission of Transparency International Georgia
Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) will deploy 250 observers to monitor the October 21 local self-government elections. Our static observers will cover 200 precincts throughout Tbilisi. In addition, 16 mobile groups will be mobilized to observe the elections.
Final assessments will be provided on October 22 at 11:30. Additional statements will be made upon necessity.