Ruling Georgian Dream party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze’s announcement that the government will initiate a law for the widespread use of electronic registration and voting starting with the 2024 elections has been met with varying degrees of skepticism and approval from opposition parties.
Below is a sampling of their reactions:
Levan Bezhashvili, of the United National Movement party, stated, “The parliamentary opposition demanded electronic elections for Georgian citizens abroad to participate in elections, at the same time, electronic elections will be a step forward in the territory of Georgia. However, the electronic elections organized by the Central Election Commission and the State Security Service of Georgia cannot be trusted. It is important to involve international partners, organizations, and countries to implement and organize these elections on electronic platforms provided by them, otherwise, the degree of trust will be low.”
Giorgi Vashadze, from the Strategy Aghmashenebeli party, emphasized, “We demanded an electronic election system, but not for 70% [of voters], but for 100%. They want to keep high-mountain regions and places inhabited by ethnic minorities for counterfeiting votes. This is the actual reason why Irakli Kobakhidze came out with this initiative […] We will not follow them in this fraud. I address Kobakhidze – not 70%, but 100%.”
Badri Japaridze, of the Lelo for Georgia party, said, “It is good to conduct elections electronically, but it should be 100% electronic. Leaving 30% means that they will try to manipulate this percentage, and hence, it is unclear on what principle it should be divided 70-30. As if it should exist in large cities but not in the regions, this leaves the same risks that characterize other elections held by the Georgian Dream in Georgia. Therefore, conducting it electronically is good, but it should be 100% electronic, this is a very principled and important issue.”
Vakhtang Megrelishvili, from the Girchi party, said, “It is good that we will know the results of the largest part of the next elections without waiting for them to be counted or transcribed.”
Aleksandre Elisashvili, of the Citizens’ party, denoted, “It will be very good if electronic vote counting machines are installed at the elections because experience has shown […] that everyone knew the results within half an hour. Tallying with old calculators and dominoes is over when they could not count the results of the elections until the next morning. In Rustavi and Batumi, where by-elections were held [electronically], the opposition did not file a single complaint.”