90% of Voters Will Vote Electronically in 2024 Parliamentary Elections

On 6 February 2023, the Central Election Commission (CEC) held a meeting at which an important decision was made regarding the use of electronics and advanced digitalization in the electoral process.

According to the decision, 90% of Georgian voters will vote electronically in the 2024 parliamentary elections. The Commission has determined the polling stations where the procedure will be conducted electronically. In the polling stations where the electronic format will not be used, the Precinct Election Commission (PEC) will convert the ballot papers into a digital format using appropriate equipment, while counting the votes in the manner specified by the CEC decree. Importantly, the digital versions of the ballot papers will be uploaded via the Internet according to the polling stations and made available to any interested party.

According to the CEC, the selection criteria for the precincts that are set to be adapted to electronic format excludes those cases that “are stipulated by law.” 

The electronic format will be used in all polling stations of all self-governing towns and in the territory of the administrative centres of the municipalities of self-governing communities. Similarly, elections will be held electronically in the polling stations of the above-mentioned municipalities (except for the administrative centres of municipalities) where the number of registered voters exceeds 300 and the distance between the PEC and the District Election Commission (DEC) does not exceed 20 km.

Responding to a query from, Nino Dolidze, Executive Director of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), provided initial comments on the CEC’s decision and discussed the issue in the light of Georgia’s commitments to meet the European Union’s 12 recommendations for EU candidate status, one of which was to “further improve the electoral framework by addressing all shortcomings identified by the OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe/Venice Commission in these processes”. Ms Dolidze indicated that further analysis of the procedural changes and the subsequent document issued by the CEC would follow later.

Ms. Dolidze described the CEC’s decision as a positive step, pointing to the overall advantage of the electronic format over the traditional voting process, implying that the former “eliminates human and technical errors, such as improperly filling in the ballot”. She also emphasized that the decision to change the election format was taken with the consensus of the political parties, which in itself was a positive aspect.

At the same time, Ms. Dolidze touched on some of the critical issues that, as described in her statement, will require further support to ensure the full use of the new electronic system. One of these issues highlighted by Ms. Dolidze was the need for a multi-level effort to navigate through the changes in the electoral process, stating that “not only the CEC, but also the polling stations and constituencies should be ready, and it is also very important to raise the awareness of the public so that they can vote using these new technologies”.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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