Transparency International Georgia’s Statement on Current Electoral Processes (07:00-20:00)
According to Transparency International Georgia’s monitoring of the 2020 parliamentary elections, there was greater tension during the second half of the day compared with its first half. There were instances of physical confrontation outside some polling stations. The electoral districts of Gldani, Marneuli, and Zugdidi stood out in this respect. Coordinators and activists were mobilized outside the polling stations, which often created tension.
Over the course of the day, there were instances of obstruction of observers, physical attacks on journalists and damaging of their property, as well as obstruction of their performance of their professional duties. In the regions, violation of the secrecy of the vote occurred frequently in the polling stations. In some cases, unauthorized persons were present inside the polling stations. The media disseminated footage allegedly showing instances of voter bribing. In a majority of polling stations, violation of the safety rules designed to prevent the spread of covid-19 was evident. Voters were often not asked to temporarily remove their face masks to confirm their identity.
Overall, we have identified some 150 minor and relatively more serious violations. Our observers have filed 35 complaints.
Of the significant violations, the following merit mentioning:
Physical confrontation and obstruction of journalists’ work and assault on journalists
TV Pirveli journalist Ana Akhalaia was injured during the physical confrontation between the activists of different parties outside the building of School #39 in Gldani where three polling stations are located. Also, journalist Mindia Gabadze of online media outlet Publika, who was recording the situation will a cell phone, was kicked, so he dropped his phone which broke. It should be noted that several episodes of physical confrontation occurred outside the school throughout the day and the police detained five individuals.
Irakli Kikvadze, the Labour Party’s candidate in the mayoral election in Kutaisi, said that he was beaten outside the Precinct ##23.59.37.
Verbal conflict continued for a prolonged period of time in the Precinct #27.67.05 in Zugdidi, causing a delay in the voting process.
Multiple voting by the same individual
Alleged voter bribing
Throughout the day, different sources reported on the handing of money to individuals outside the polling stations. Moreover, the Formula TV station aired a report on alleged voter bribing. Specifically, a journalist phoned different individuals who confirmed receiving a certain amount of money for their votes.
Obstruction of observers’ work
Around five individuals physically assaulted our observer and then ran away outside the Electoral Precinct #12.20.16 in Rustavi. We have informed the police about the incident.
Our organization’s observer was expelled from the electoral precinct #09.12.15 in Gurjaani after the observer detected that a person was entering the booth along with a voter. Also, there were attempts to expel our observes from electoral precincts #09.12.01 in Gurjaani and #26.70.17 in Poti, although the decisions were subsequently reversed.
Our mobile observer was not allowed to enter Precinct #30.83.13 in Khelvachauri because the observer had taken photos outside the polling station, angering the commission’s members.
An observer was wrongly expelled from Precinct #13.23.13 in Marneuli. The observer was taking a photo of a booth from outside because three voters had entered in simultaneously.
Violation of vote secrecy (unfolded ballots and cameras close to booths)
There have been instances of violation of the secrecy of vote. Specifically, in the electoral precincts in #15.32.03 Gori and in #17.37.04 Akhaltsikhe, voters who had left the voting booths showed their ballots to individuals standing nearby. The case in Akhaltsikhe is particularly noteworthy since the ballot box supervisor asked all voters to show their ballots, thereby violating the secrecy of vote. In several polling stations, stationary video cameras were installed too close to the voting booths, creating the danger of control over the voters’ expression of their will. Such precincts were #11.28.37 in Dusheti and #15.32.28 in Gori.
In Precinct #15.32.67 in Gori, stationary video cameras were installed too close to the voting booths, creating the danger of control over the voters’ expression of their will.
In Precinct #14.24.19 in Dmanisi, a voter showed a marked ballot paper to a person standing nearby upon exiting the booth.
In Precinct #10.17.39 in Telavi, several people followed a voter into the booth and the chairperson did not react to this.
In Precinct #13.21.58 in Gardabani, an observer followed a voter into the booth and aided the voter in voting.
In Precinct 18.40.35 in Akhalkalaki, two commission members took photos of their ballot papers after voting and before placing them in envelopes.
In Precinct #17.38.12 in Adigeni, there were several instances of voters moving to each other’s booths and showing their marked ballots to others.
In Precinct #08.10.108 in Gldani, a voter registered in the special list who only had the right to vote in the proportional election was allowed to vote in the majoritarian election as well.
In Precinct #11.27.43 in Mtskheta, there were two instances of voters taking photos of the ballot papers after marking them.
In Precinct #13.23.13 in Marneuli, two commission members followed a voter into the booth and exerted pressure on the voter.
In Precinct #18.40.35 in Akhalkalaki, a voter followed another voter who did not require assistance into the booth without a face mask. Other individuals also moved around this polling station without masks.
According to Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, members of her staff were not allowed to monitor the voting process or speak to the inmates at the penitentiary facility #15.
Violation of lottery procedure
In precincts #13.22.85 in Marneuli, in #14.24.46 Dmanisi, and #02.02.31 in Vake the lottery required to divide roles among commission members either did not take place at all or did take place but the relevant rules were not followed.
Recording of voters inside polling stations
There was a pattern of media organization Newpost’s representatives’ taking photos of all voters inside polling stations and sending them via special software.
In Precinct #09.12.02 in Gurjaani, a registrator continuously dictated to an observer the names, last names, and personal numbers of the arriving voters.
Late opening of polling stations
Polling stations opened late in precincts #06.07.07 in Nadzaladevi,#23.59.122 in Kutaisi, #28.79.14 in Batumi, and #22.58.30 in Tsqaltubo.
Presence of unauthorized individuals inside or near polling stations
Individuals without badges were present inside the polling station #12.21.14 in Gardabani. They were notably aggressive and threatened to shoot our observer in the head, while the commission chairperson did not react to this. These people later put on the badges. We have informed the police about the case and they have launched in inquiry.
In Precinct #17.37.29 in Akhaltsikhe, Akhaltsikhe Municipal Council member Ambartsum Baboyan was present as an observer from the Green Earth organization.
In Precinct #24.16.31 in Lanchkhuti, Georgian Dream’s two representatives were present inside the polling station at the same time for several hours.
Violation of Covid-19-related safety rules
Throughout the country, there was a pattern of violation of the rules designed to prevent the spread of the covid-19 infection. In multiple polling stations, commission members did not wear protective shields, distancing was often not observed, and the rules of wearing face masks were violated.
In Precinct #12.20.08 in Rustavi, the commission member responsible for managing the flow of voters was unable to control the waiting line, while citizens were unable to observe distancing in the polling station.
Problems concerning filing of complaints
In Precinct #14.24.46 in Dmanisi, the commission secretary refused to accept a complaint from our observer. The problem was resolved following intervention by the district electoral commission.
In Precinct #06.07. 04 in Tbilisi, the commission refused to register a complaint which our observer had written.
Violation of inking rules
In precincts #11.28.01 in Dusheti and #10.18.04 in Akhmeta, voting without inking occurred.
In Precinct #12.20.66 in Rustavi, a voter who had already been inked was allowed to vote.
In Precinct #08.10.30 in Gldani, a commission member responsible for managing the flow of voters did not check the IDs and the inking of the voters whom the commission member knew personally.
In Precinct #04.05.28 in Isani, at least five voters were allowed to vote without inking.
Campaigning in polling station
An instance of campaigning was detected in precinct #14.26.10 in Tetritsqaro.
Voting without IDs
In Precinct #25.68.11 in Tsalenjikha and Precinct #08.10.37 in Gldani, voters were allowed to vote without an ID.
Problems concerning mobile ballot box
In Precinct #22.58.29 in Tsqaltubo, the mobile ballot box list did not contain personal numbers of the voters. In several cases, personal numbers were added by the commission members after the mobile ballot box was brought back to the polling station.
In Precinct #13.21.21 in Gardabani, a person who had been registered in the mobile ballot box list voted both in the polling station and through the mobile ballot box.
In Precinct #23.59.55 in Kutaisi, the mobile ballot box seal was damaged. We are waiting to see how the commission will react to this during the vote count and we will act accordingly.
About the electoral mission
Transparency International Georgia is monitoring the 31 October 2020 parliamentary elections through 600 local observers. The organization’s stationary observers will be deployed to 400 electoral precincts across the country, while some 100 mobile groups will also monitor the electoral processes.
Transparency International Georgia will hold three press conferences at the Media Center at 12:30, 17:00, and 20:00, presenting the provisional findings of election-day monitoring. The final assessment will be presented at 10:30 on 1 November. Additional statements could be made if necessary.
Election-day violations can be reported via our hotline number: 2 92 14 03.