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Logos of ISFED, GYLA and TI Georgia. Photo: isfed.ge

Watchdogs Say Elections Mostly Orderly

ISFED: Orderly, but violations noted
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), one of Georgia’s oldest election watchdogs has summarized the results of the today’s vote in Presidential Elections, saying the process was mostly calm and orderly.
Still, the watchdog has noted specific violations and submitted 61 complaints to precinct and 62 complaints to district election commissions. These cases covered: limitation of the observers’ rights, voter marking errors, failure to respect the procedures of handling the ballots, isolated cases of presence of unauthorized people at the precinct, cases of improper identification documents used, substitute voting, errors in election lists, and campaigning at the precinct.
ISFED has remarked that one specific characteristic of these elections, was that party activists were widely present near precincts and were comparing the voters with their lists of supporters, which might impact the expression of the free will, and can be perceived by voters as indirect pressure. This practice was most widely used by the Georgian Dream, suggests the watchdog, although in some districts also by the United National Movement and European Georgia.
ISFED is fielding up to 800 observers, who are placed in 73 district comissions and dispatched in 78 mobile groups. 15 operators and 10 lawyers are working at the HQ to analyze and address the potential violations and incidents. ISFED also conducts the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) to verify the official results by CEC.
GYLA: Mostly calm, violations did not impact voting
The Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, another veteran watchdog, stated that by 21:00 the violations it registered did not have a significant impact on voting.
As other watchdogs, GYLA noted the cases of voter mobilization through party activists posted at the election precincts, saying it potentially affected the voters’ free expression of will. In addition to this practice, GYLA also listed phone-calls from the party HQ of Salome Zurabishvili as means of pressure and control on voters.
Several serious violations, including a case of voter bribing, which is a criminal offense and a case of removal of a ballot from the precinct, were also documented.
Some procedural violations, linked to use of improper IDs, scuffles, violations of voter marking procedures, campaigning at the election precinct were also registered.
GYLA observers filed 94 complaints, 52 of them at the precinct, 42 at the district levels.
GYLA fielded 400 observers in Tbilisi and nine provinces of Georgia. 250 precincts were covered, 33 election districts were covered with 50 mobile groups and 59 district-level observers.
Transparency International Georgia: Some serious violations
Transparency International Georgia (TI), another watchdog, said its observers have noted up to 90 incidents, and have filed 9 complaints.
Among the most serious elements, just like ISFED, the organization lists activist mobilization at the precincts, but apart from indirect pressure, it also points to specific potential cases of potential voter bribing in 6 precincts of 3 districts.
In a town of Zugdidi, a case of ballot-stuffing by election administration member was reported.
Cases of limiting the observation, casting of ballots without proper marking, errors in conduct of various election procedures were also noted by TI.
TI fields 350 observers, which are dispatched to 300 precincts, plus in 45 mobile groups.

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