Ballot Recounts at Problematic Electoral Precincts Will Reduce Distrust Toward Results and Political Tension
The Georgian Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has now counted and published initial preliminary election results in nearly all electoral precincts. Almost all main opposition parties have declared distrust in the election results. Their statements have emphasized, in particular, the irregularities in vote tally protocols. The delay in the publication of the initial preliminary results by the CEC has raised further questions.
Transparency International Georgia is trying to examine all possible criticisms concerning the vote tally protocols. At this point, a review of the vote tally protocols supplied by our observers from the electoral precincts (250 protocols) has shown that there is the so-called excessive imbalance in approximately 7% of the total number of protocols, i.e. the sum of the votes cast for electoral entities and the invalidated ballots are larger than the number of voter signatures, which should not be the case if all procedures were conducted correctly. The imbalance is significant in one-third of these cases.
It should be noted that the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) which monitored the elections in some 1,000 precincts has spoken about the same pattern. Specifically, according to the organization, no imbalance of similar scale has occurred in the vote tally protocols in recent years as the number of counted ballots exceeded the number of voter signatures in the lists in 8% of the precincts, which is a violation. Although this pattern could have affected the performance of electoral entities, an analysis of ISFED’s parallel vote tabulation (PVT) has demonstrated that the possible maximum impact on the results would be less than 4.1%. The organization has also said that this pattern jeopardizes the trust in the electoral process and therefore requires immediate response by the electoral administration.
Considering the preliminary election results and the fact that a few percentage points could decide whether or not a parliamentary majority is formed, effective response to such irregularities is of utmost importance.
We believe that, in order to increase the trust in the elections, recounts must take place in the electoral precincts where the excessive imbalance is significant.
We believe that only these steps will help the country avoid political tension.
* The number of protocols was specified