International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), which is the largest Georgian election monitoring group, has released a summary of violations observed by its monitors in Sunday’s municipal elections as of 3pm local time.
According to ISFED its monitors observed four cases of campaigning inside polling stations with chairpersons of those precincts failing to timely react; six cases of casting ballot with improper identification documents; three cases when signatures were put across voters’ names in the lists while they actually had not cast ballot; ten cases of casting ballot without undergoing of through violation of voter marking procedure; eight cases of presence of unauthorized persons inside polling stations; five cases when election observers were prevented from filing a complaint with precinct election commissions.
ISFED, which has up to 1.300 observers across the country, said that it has so far filed total of 31 complaints with the election administration.
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), which has up to 500 observers, also reported about similar violations; but it also said that there was a “significant violation” at a polling station No.25 in Kaspi municipality, where voters were not given ballot papers for gamgebeli (head of municipality) contest; it led to annulment of 27 ballots, which were cast before the violation had been eradicated.
The most serious violations reported so far were two incidents in Martvili and Zugdidi municipalities. Ballot papers were snatched by two armed masked men from precinct No.16 in the village of Doshake in Martvili municipality of Samegrelo region. The incident occurred overnight on Sunday hours before the polling station was due to open. Central Election Commission and the Interior Ministry said that ballot papers, undamaged and sealed, were found close to the polling station and although with delay, but it was still possible to launch voting process at the precinct. In the village of Anaklia of Zugdidi municipality in Samegrelo region, few local residents destroyed ballot box and some election documents in protest over authorities’ failure to find out whereabouts of their relative, missing since January, 2012.
Transparency International Georgia, which is also observing municipal elections, reported that at one of the polling stations in the Kharagauli municipality a village official was threatening voters with losing social allowances if not voting for the Georgian Dream ruling coalition.