Final assessment of the October 27, 2013 presidential election
1. General Assessment
The electoral process was generally held in a calm environment during the day. Our monitors did not observe a single case of misuse of administrative resources and direct pressure or intimidation of voters. We also consider it a positive development that so-called special polling stations were opened only for those military servicemen and policemen under special regime. The Central Election Commission (CEC) and its representatives acted mostly in a politically neutral manner. Most of the violations we observed were procedural, demonstrating the need for further training of election administration staff. We believe that these violations have not affected the outcome of the election.
TI Georgia observers witnessed more than 80 significant procedural violations and filed 36 complaints. Most of the violations we observed occurred in the morning, the number of irregularities significantly decreased in the afternoon.
Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) deployed close to 400 local observers to monitor the October 27 presidential elections. Our stationary observers were assigned to monitor the whole election process at 330 randomly selected polling stations in 66 out of 73 districts across the country. In addition, TI Georgia deployed 40 mobile observation teams who paid special attention to polling stations where irregularities were reported from.
Some of the significant violations we observed:
Observers not allowed into the stations
Our observers were not allowed, along with observers from other organizations, to enter polling station Nr. 49 in Saburtalo (Tbilisi) and polling station Nr. 26 in Telavi.
Violation of the inking procedure
At polling station Nr. 59 in Marneuli and polling station Nr. 32 in Chiatura, some voters were not checked for ink on their hands (to prevent double-voting).
Two representatives of the Martvili electoral district commission refused to be tested for ink with an ultra violet flashlight and to follow the precinct commission chairman’s instructions at polling station Nr. 2. They voted without being inked and were rude to the registrars and members of the commission.
At polling stations Nr. 8, 35 and 112 in Kutaisi, we observed around 30 voters casting their ballot despite the fact that they had already been inked before.
At polling station Nr. 54 in Samgori, a voter was able to vote despite having already been inked once.
Irregularities in the voters’ list
At polling stations Nr. 8, 51 and 72 in Batumi, up to 300 citizens showed up at the station but were unable to vote as they could not find their names in the voters’ list.
Voting without valid documents
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) were able to vote without presenting proper documentation in at polling station Nr. 112 and 120 in Kutaisi.
A voter was allowed to vote using only a copy of his ID at polling station Nr. 120 in Kutaisi.
Problems with seals
At polling stations Nr. 49 in Marneuli and Nr. 62 in Bolnisi, the stamps were not cut to create a unique mark before usage, as required.
Violations concerning the mobile ballot box
At polling station Nr. 15 in Gurjaani, 28 citizens were denied their requests for an opportunity to vote via a mobile box, and consequently, they were unable to vote. The district commission failed to provide these voters with an explanation for their decision, despite their request.
In Telavi’s 35th precinct, voters’ IDs were transported together with mobile ballot box Nr. 5. How the commission members got ahold of the ID cards remains unclear.
Stations temporarily closed
People were unable to vote in precinct Nr. 33 in Mtskheta in the morning for around half an hour after the precinct was closed. The apparent reason for the closure was that the commission members were discussing issues related to a mobile ballot box, which they had failed to address before the precinct was opened.
In Vake’s special precinct Nr. 80, a prison, the ballot box was not properly sealed and the station was temporarily closed for voters.
The counting procedures generally took place in a calm environment. However, at a number of polling stations, there were mismatches between the ballots that were cast and the number of signatures on voters’ lists, for example at precincts Nr. 53 in Dusheti, Nr. 6 in Dedoplistskaro, Nr. 26 in Telavi, Nr. 2 in Ozurgeti and Nr. 1 in Kaspi.
At polling station Nr. 45 in Mtskheta our observer and some members of the polling station commission, who were not assigned as counters, were asked to leave the station. Everyone was readmitted after we got the district commission involved.
The elections results, according to the 330 polling stations we monitored elections at, is as follows:
To improve the electoral process in the future, the Central Election Commission should work to improve the capabilities and qualifications of precinct commission members; seek to raise awareness about pre-election procedures, particularly in regions populated by ethnic minorities; take effective steps to improve the accuracy of voters lists; seek to make polling stations more easily accessible for voters of all ages, especially for citizens with disabilities, as many stations in these elections were only accessible through flights of stairs, which posed a serious challenge for many voters.
Transparency International Georgia's monitoring mission of the October 27, 2013 presidential elections was made possible by the generous support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).