skip to content

CEC 2024 Action Plan Criticized for Ignoring Emigrant Vote

The Georgian Central Election Commission has published its 2024 Action Plan. The CEC’s press release states that “the Action Plan 2024 has been developed taking into account the Election Administration Strategy 2023-2026”. The Action Plan has been criticized by the opposition parties Girchi-More Freedom and Droa, which have been conducting a “Ballot box in your city” campaign for ignoring the issue of emigrants’ voting in the Action Plan.

Most of the activities reflected in the Action Plan include measures for training/informing various target groups about the electoral process. Among the main directions of the Action Plan, the press release of the CEC mentions “informing and educating the public, developing the process of litigation, increasing administrative efficiency, capacity building, harmonizing electoral operations with legislative (technological) innovations and the use of technology in the electoral process”. 

The allied political parties Girchi- More Freedom and Droa reacted to the Action Plan and the budget for 2024, on January 17, with a statement criticizing the CEC for ignoring the issue of emigrant voting:  “The CEC completely ignores emigrants. The electoral administration has approved the Action Plan for 2024, in which not only is there nothing about the participation of emigrants in the elections, but citizens living abroad are mentioned only once, in the part about the dissemination of information”. According to the statement, this is “indicative of the goal of the CEC and Dream – to leave more than a million Georgian citizens behind and deprive them of their right to vote”. 

The statement by Girchi-More Freedom and Droa notes that “the CEC has not omitted such issues as the modification of the informative-educational Internet game and the conduct of a survey on the satisfaction of the employees of the CEC office, but fails to address the issue of voting by emigrants”.

Girchi-More Freedom and Droa note that the Action Plan “lists the creation of new infrastructure as a separate task, for which the CEC intends to hold workshops with state/local self-government bodies on the allocation of buildings for polling stations”. However, the statement emphasizes that the issue of opening additional polling stations abroad, necessary for the participation of emigrants in the elections, is not addressed at all.

The statement says that the CEC budget for 2024 indicates that emigrant vote is not a priority for the state, citing the absence of relevant items, such as the necessary electoral infrastructure abroad or insufficient funds for training local staff to open polling stations abroad.

The opposition political parties stress that “without the participation of one third of the electorate, the 2024 elections cannot be considered legitimate” and call on the CEC to “ensure, instead of destruction and sabotage, that more than one million Georgians participate in the elections and that they are held legitimately”.

On November 28, 2023 the allied “Girchi-More Freedom” and “Droa” parties announced a “Ballot Box in Your City” campaign, calling on Georgians abroad to request the opening of polling stations in cities where there is no Georgian consulate. They want to take advantage of a provision in the electoral code that provides for the opening of ballot boxes in areas where at least fifty Georgian citizens request to vote. At the briefing of “Girchi-More Freedom” and “Droa” on December 19, 2023 the leaders said that the collection of signatures to open polling stations abroad is underway in 42 cities abroad and has been completed in three cities.

Also Read:

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


Back to top button