Ruling Party Proposes e-Voting in Urban Areas from 2024

Ruling Georgian Dream party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze announced on 13 September that as part of the government’s work on fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendation on electoral reform, they will initiate a law for the widespread use of electronic registration and voting starting with the 2024 elections.

The ruling party proposes for electronic registration and voting to be implemented in most urban areas, encompassing roughly 70% of voters.

MP Kobakhidze emphasized that electronic voting “will finally strengthen the public’s confidence in the vote counting process, eliminate the problem of imbalance in the electoral process, and forever end so-called speculation.”

He also noted that an electronic system will help to speed up the process of counting votes, ensure that results will be published within a few minutes after voting closes, and remove “the problems associated with exit polls and parallel counting of votes.” The ruling party has been campaigning against the leading election watchdog, ISFED, due to a technical mistake during the parallel vote tabulation in 2020 parliamentary elections, accusing it of intentional manipulation.

MP Kobakhidze asserted that the necessary legislation is being developed by the Parliamentary working group on electoral reforms in line with OSCE/ODIHR recommendations and with the involvement of opposition parties and civil society representatives.

The ruling party MP explained that the decision comes after electronic voting was successfully tested in the Krtsanisi district of Tbilisi during last year’s elections as well as this year’s Local Council (Sakrebulo) by-elections at eight polling stations in Batumi Municipality.

MP Kobakhidze said that the ruling party will the draft bill in the coming days, following consultations with the Georgian government, the Central Election Commission (CEC), and relevant experts.

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