According to information provided by the GYLA’s observers as of 8 PM, polling procedures were still proceeding with significant violations in certain precincts.
More than 100 violations have been observed 8 pm. The violations mainly concern the secrecy of the vote, control of voters’ will, interference with the exercise of observers’ powers, and procedural issues.
As a general trend, similarly to the first round, mobilization of unidentified individuals can be observed in areas adjacent to polling stations across Georgia. The GYLA’s observers are not allowed to exercise their powers, and in several cases they have even been threatened with damaging their health.
At this stage, the observers of the GYLA’s monitoring mission have filed 24 complaints in total – 14 complaints at the PECs and 10 at the DECs, and made more than 80 remarks. Below we give a relatively long account of the most important violations observed in the period from 7 AM to 8 PM:
Interference with the exercise of observers’ powers:
- In certain precincts, the GYLA’s observers were not allowed to exercise their powers. In 5 cases (precincts no. 10 of Chughureti, no. 45 of Rustavi, no. 52 of Batumi, no. 8 of Samgori, and no. 17 of Krtsanisi), our observers were hindered from exercising their powers and threatened with damaging their health. The observers were threatened by commission members as well as by other observers and outside persons who had been mobilized in the vicinity of the polling places;
- Chughureti District, precinct no. 10 – The GYLA’s observer noticed coordinators holding voters’ lists in the area of the polling station and took their photo with the aim of obtaining evidence, after which a stranger threatened her with damaging her health;
- Rustavi District, precinct no. 45 – Near the door of the polling station, there were persons holding voters’ lists. The GYLA’s observer took their photo, which was followed by their threats and demands to delete the photo. The individuals were also trying to snatch the phone from the observer. In addition to the aforementioned persons, the GYLA’s static and mobile observers were also insulted verbally by persons mobilized outside the polling station;
- Batumi District, precinct no. 52 – After the GYLA’s observer took a photo of the territory of the polling station, persons standing there insulted him verbally;
- Samgori District, precinct no. 8 – The commission members left the polling place, about which the GYLA’s observer made a remark in the log-book. The commission members altered the remark made by the observer and were not letting her see it. After that, the observer filed a complaint at the precinct commission, and also made an additional remark indicating that her remark had been altered. Unidentified persons took her outside the polling place and threatened her, saying that they knew her address and that she had better withdraw the complaint. They also tried to contact the observer through the social network;
- Krtsanisi District, precinct no. 17 – When the mobile ballot box was returned to the polling station, it turned out that one of the voters included in the voters’ list had not cast a vote. Members of the PEC declared that they would take the box to this voter again after 5 PM. The box that had been returned was sealed. By 5 PM, the mobile ballot box was taken out of the polling station again and returned in several minutes, already with a seal. In connection with all the foregoing, our observer was trying to make a written remark for an hour and a half, against the background of his efforts and rude pressure from commission members. He finally filed a complaint.
Control of voters’ will:
- In a number of cases, coordinators and party activists were mobilized in the vicinity of polling places and were trying to create an environment of pressure and a feeling of surveillance, which interfered with free expression of voters’ will.
Violation of the secrecy of the vote:
- At precincts no. 46 and no. 49 of Isani, no. 6 of Samgori, and no. 93 of Batumi, the voting booths are arranged in such a way that makes it possible to identify the choice made by the voter. The secretary of precinct no. 24 of Zugdidi gave the personal data of voters in the mobile ballot box list (the list with personal numbers) to an outside person. At precinct no. 93 of Gldani, the mobile ballot box was returned to the polling station without a seal, due to which the GYLA filed a complaint demanding the invalidation of the votes cast in the mobile ballot box.
Other violations include:
- Violation of lot casting procedures, inappropriate filling out of the control sheet, inappropriate filling out of the demonstration protocol and the log-book, allocation of functions arbitrarily and without making an entry in the log-book, presence of an unauthorized person (a security guard) at the polling place. In some cases, the violations were eliminated after the GYLA’s observer made a remark.
Violations related to measures to be taken against the Covid-19 pandemic:
- In a number of precincts, the procedures for the identification of voters are not observed properly, and commission members do not get the citizens to remove masks in the manner established by law.
The GYLA’s Observation Mission on the polling day
The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association will be observing the second round of the election of the Parliament of Georgia in more than 1,100 precincts of 12 districts (and in 3 supporting districts).
The GYLA’s monitoring mission consists of 214 individuals, 19 of whom are members of the central headquarters and 19 are members of regional headquarters; 14 individuals are DEC observers; 116 are mobile observers and 46 are static precinct observers.
The GYLA will pay particular attention to the observance of electoral procedures (the process of opening of the polls, voting, and summarization of voting results) as well as monitor the developments unfolding in areas adjacent to polling stations. In connection with revealed violations, the organization will also use the mechanism of strategic litigation in DECs and courts.
On Election Day, the GYLA will also be operating a hotline number for journalists and media organizations. By calling at the hotline, journalists and media organizations will be able to receive information they are interested in and legal consultation regarding electoral procedures, violations on the polling day, and ways of responding to them.
The hotline number is 577 36 15 20.
The GYLA will release a final statement on the process of Election Day observation at the end of the day and one statement on the day after the elections. The Chairperson of the GYLA will evaluate the process of elections through the media and, in necessary, will also hold a press conference.
The GYLA’s monitoring mission of the polling day of the second round of the parliamentary elections was made possible with the financial support of the embassies of Norway and Great Britain, the EU Delegation to Georgia, and the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The opinions expressed in the statement are those of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and its content may not express the views of the donor organizations.