Watchdogs Say Election Most Appeals Dismissed or Refused by District Commissions

Various District Election Commissions refused to review watchdog complaints without giving grounds for such decision. Out those reviewed, most were dismissed, reads a November 4 joint statement by Transparency International (TI) Georgia and International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), two key election watchdogs for Georgia’s October 31 parliamentary election.

The two CSOs called on the district election commissions to facilitate the appeals procedure instead of posing obstacles to the process. They called on the Commissions to try and recount as many ballots on the precinct level as possible to shore up public trust in the results of the October 31 parliamentary elections.

“Otherwise they will be responsible for the political crisis in the country,” the watchdogs asserted.

According to the watchdogs, most of the refusals to review appeals were argumented by DECs claim that the observers were not propertly authorized, or that their appeals were not printed on an organization letterhead. “During the review sessions, representatives of both organizations presented their proper authorisaions, which confirmed that not only during the session but also when filing the appeal, observers were duly authorized to act in our name,” TI Georgia and ISFED argued, saying that the pro-forma grounds for refusal were mostly formalisic.

According to the statement, in one instance, Kutaisi DEC summoned an ISFED representative to a 19:00 session, held the session at an earlier time and had dismissed the appeal to the watchdog at 18:00.

As for the cases when DECs reviewed the appeals, the watchdogs’ demands for annulment and/or a recount were not satisfied, the statement underscored.

“Demants for a recount were satisfied only in the few instances, among others, at a PEC in Tbilisi’s Samgori constituency, where large discrepancies were uncovered in the summary protocols,” the watchdogs pointed out.

NOTE: This article has been modified from its original version. It has been edited for clarity.

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