Journalistic Survey
Photo Reportage
Foreign Media about Georgia
Reader's opinion
Children's Rights
Women's Rights

Human Rights Center demands Annulment of Election Results in Polling Station N65 of Marneuli  Election District N22

October 4, 2021
According to HRC,  during the October 2, 2021 Local Self-Government (Municipal)  Elections, the situation in several polling stations became tense and there were some incidents identified casting a shadow over the peaceful and fair environment for the polling process.  One of the most serious violations was observed by the representative of HRC at polling station N65 of  Marneuli election district N22. 

Some observers were present at the polling station since the morning without specifying which organization they were from. They were interfering in the election process, and psychologically or physically abusing the observers who were acting legally when they took some photos and videos of the identified violations. Particularly an HRC observer was physically and psychologically abused by several individuals as they tried to seize a cell phone of the HRC observer when she was trying to capture the situation going on at the polling station. The persons with observer status periodically were instructing some of the NGO observers on how they should act at the polling station. 

At the same polling station, there were identified some instances of the same voters casting votes more than once.  It was this polling station where in the presence of the HRC observer, before the end of the polling process, one of the election commission members cast vote by dropping three envelopes with ballot papers into the ballot box.   A few minutes before the end of the polling process, the registrars prepared the ballot papers in advance by signing them and placing stamps on them. It should be noted that at that time no voter was present at the polling station anymore and the polling process was practically finished. 

After the mobile ballot box was returned to the polling station, it was found out that the physical integrity of the seal of the ballot box was lacking. Before the counting process began, the members and the chairperson of the PEC were intending to count the ballot papers in the mobile ballot box and include the votes from the mobile ballot box to the general votes. The HRC observer contacted the chairperson of the district election commission in order to make her react to the fact. The chairperson of the DEC appeared at the polling station, made the members of the precinct election commission to write explanatory statements, and made a decision on the spot to seal the mobile ballot box and transfer the box to the DEC. As the chairperson of DEC mentioned, they had to discuss in the DEC what to do with the mobile ballot box. 

During the counting process, the members of the PEC were taking the ballot papers from the envelopes, and dropping the envelopes on the floor. One of the commission members and an observer informed the HRC observer that together with the envelopes some ballot papers were also thrown away, after which one of the commission members removed the discarded ballot papers from the trash and returned them to the pile of ballot papers to be counted. It should be noted that the discarded ballot papers were bearing checked numbers belonging to the opposition party candidates and parties.

Before drawing up the summary protocol, it was found out that the blank summary protocol was signed by the members of the commission. After counting the votes, some members of the commission left the polling station before the protocol was drawn up. 

“As a long-time observer, I have seen many violations and thought that nothing would surprise me. However, the events here were beyond all sorts of violations, I have never seen something like this. At Marneuli election district N22, where lots of observers are monitoring the process the PEC members are conducting, yet the PEC members managed to damage and throw to trash the ballot papers checked in favor of the opposition. We retrieved approximately 50 ballot papers from the trash,” -  ” - Human Rights Center observer Eka Kobesashvili wrote on Facebook after the violation was identified. This post of the observer aroused great interest from the media. The situation at the polling station was also covered in several news programs. The story aired on Mtavari Arkhi shows how the PEC members are damaging the ballot papers and how the HRC observer takes the discarded ballot papers from the trash.. 
HRC filed complaints with the district election commission regarding the above-mentioned violations and demanded the annulment of the results of polling station N65. 

On October 2, HRC observers wrote 16 complaints and entered 32 violations in the election day logbooks at the polling stations of Marneuli election district N22. In total 4 complaints were filed with the district election commission.