Statistics of Recounts of the Second Round of Municipal Elections
Following the election legislation and by the CEC Chairperson’s initiative results of 201 election precincts are recounted in total by November 1st. The Central Election Commission delivers detailed statistics on the recounts: relevant district election commissions recounted election results of obligatory 5-5 polling stations and the data of 2-2 election precincts that fell under the recommendation issued by the CEC. As of now, 11% of 1830 election precincts are recounted. Through the country, in the mayoral contest, the number of votes for the “United National Movement” decreased by 21, and 28 votes were added to the mentioned political party. The number of votes for “Georgian Dream” was decreased by 10 votes and 23 votes were added, 2 votes were added to the election subject “Tamaz Mechiauti for United Georgia”.
Recounts neither affected the DECs’ preliminary results of the second round of elections nor election precincts’.
U.S. Embassy Statement Following the Second Round of Georgian Municipal Elections
After a long and divisive campaign, the people of Georgia cast their votes in the second round of municipal elections on October 30. We commend the voters, and dedicated election workers, representatives of Georgia’s professional domestic election observation organizations and NGOs, and international monitors who participated despite the COVID pandemic and a tense election environment.
We share ODIHR’s assessment that the elections were generally calm and well-administered but allegations of intimidation and pressure on voters persisted and continued polarization, coupled with the escalation of negative rhetoric, adversely affected the process. Sharp imbalances of resources and an undue advantage of incumbency further tilted the playing field. ODIHR also noted concerns with the persistent practice of representatives of observer organizations acting as party supporters, at times interfering with the process, and groups of individuals potentially influencing voters outside some polling stations. While ODIHR found that the CEC organized the second round in a professional and transparent manner, concerns over the impartiality of the lower-level election commissions persisted. U.S. Embassy election observation teams witnessed similar interference and bias at several precincts.
As these elections have shown, democracy is a work in progress. It requires dedication to the highest international standards and vigilance to ensure citizens’ rights and freedoms are protected. Some of the reforms enacted by Georgia’s political leaders through an inclusive, multiparty process earlier this year, such as automatic recounts and electronic vote counting, largely succeeded in increasing the transparency of the voting process.
These positive steps forward were undermined, unfortunately, by wide-spread violations in the pre-election period and on both election days that adversely affected the ability of citizens to vote freely. Rather than improving the atmosphere by addressing problems identified by election observers in the first round, intimidation, offensive rhetoric, misuse of administrative resources, and reports of blatant vote-buying and other violations continued, and a politicized media further inflamed the polarized atmosphere.
We are particularly troubled by credible reports of violence against election observers and the media during both rounds of the election. These groups are the cornerstone of any democracy, and attacks against members of the media and election observers must be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Their reports should be viewed as providing valuable information that can improve the electoral process.
The election process now continues with random recounts of at least 140 precincts and the adjudication of hundreds of complaints. This phase is both a test and an opportunity for the Central Election Commission and the courts, and it will be critical for these institutions to perform their duties transparently and impartially. We call on the parties to use the legal mechanisms available and pursue peaceful means to adjudicate election disputes. Democracy in Georgia will not be strengthened by resorting to violence or pursuing solutions outside the law.
Each election – even imperfect ones – offers lessons learned and an opportunity to address persistent abuses that have degraded recent elections and eroded the public’s trust in their democratic institutions. As a start, we urge Georgia’s leaders to enact and implement all the remaining reforms recommended by ODIHR, the Venice Commission, and other international experts. These recommendations were provided at Parliament’s request and would be a significant step toward ensuring the next elections are an improvement over the last.
The American people have supported Georgia’s efforts throughout the long, challenging process of building strong institutions, a robust civil society, a professional, pluralistic media, and a government that is responsive to the people. The recent elections and Georgia’s deeply divisive political environment show much more work is urgently needed. The United States has offered our friendship as an honest partner to the people and government of Georgia because we believe in Georgia’s future as a stable, prosperous democracy that respects the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms. We remain committed to helping Georgia achieve those goals.
U.S. Embassy Statement
Municipal Elections - Preliminary Results of Second Round
The second round of Municipal Elections is over. Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) presented preliminary results of the elections to the media and the public during a press briefing held today. Giorgi Kalandarishvili expressed his gratitude towards the voters for their activity and for high civic responsibility exposed for the second round of elections. “In pandemic conditions, 1 025 406 voters took part in the process of voting. I thank each and every election administrator who spared no effort, worked 24 hours a day and still continue to work in order to ensure free and transparent environment for the entire electoral process.
The election process was quite competitive. Inaccuracies took place, but overall, not only by our estimation, a COVID-safe and professionally organized election environment was ensured for every voter arriving at the Precinct Election Commission (PEC). In certain cases, the voting process was delayed for a while due to specific incidents in several precincts, which did not affect the entire voting process.
The second round of elections was conducted and I would like to thank all the electoral stakeholders: observer organizations, media outlets and electoral subjects who were actively observing the elections," - stated the CEC Chairperson.
As Giorgi Kalandarishvili stated at the end of the briefing, the preliminary results of the second round are counted according to the summary protocols of all 261 polling stations through the majoritarian contest and full information is available at the CEC’s special website: results.cec.gov.ge.
According to the legislation, the Election Administration (EA) officially summarizes the results of the second round no later than November 13, after completing all the procedures prescribed by law.
As for the complaints, a total of 272 complaints were submitted to the District Election Commissions (DECs) yesterday, of which 121 were submitted by observers and 151 by electoral subjects. Most of them related to procedural violations. Detailed statistics on complaints will be provided by the EA to the public in the nearest future. We would like to remind you, that the DECs will examine the complaints within 4 calendar days in accordance with the Election Code and then make a decision.
The DEC’s decision may be appealed to a respective district/city court within 2 calendar days. The district/city court shall consider the appeal within 2 calendar days.
We would also like to recall that the EA will carry out recount procedures; In each election district, where the second round of elections was held, 5-5 polling stations will be identified by casting a lot on a random basis and the results of a total of 150 polling stations will be recounted; this is another important guarantee of ensuring the high quality of election transparency.
CEC NEWS BRIEFING ON E-DAY PROCEDURES AND VOTER TURNOUT AS OF 12:00 PM
At the CEC news briefing Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Spokesperson presented to media information on voter turnout as of 12:00pm.
“Voter turnout according to 3 644 election precincts is 16.5% (567 699 voters). As of 12:00 pm, the highest voter turnout was observed in Racha-Lechkhumi with 27.9%, and the lowest voter turnout in Shida Kartli - 13.9%. The voter turnout in Tbilisi is 14.8%.
For comparison, we would like to inform you that during the 2014 Municipal Elections, voter turnout as of 12:00 pm was 16.6%” –stated Ana Mikeladze.
As for the information about the incoming calls at the CEC Call Center: in total 473 calls have been received from 07:00 am until 12:00 pm in the morning. The majority of the calls referred to the verification of personal data in the unified list of voters.
Ana Mikeladze also presented information to media on minor procedural shortcomings:
“Majoritarian ballot papers were absent at #13 Dusheti election precinct. The other two type ballot papers for mayoral and proportional elections were at the election precinct. District Election Commission made the decision by adopting the relevant ordinance and the majoritarian ballot papers are already delivered to the election precinct. A complaint has been submitted in this respect and the relevant election administration will make the final decision. Flashlight for inking verification was absent at #34 Martvili election precinct and the device has been provided to the commission immediately. At #20 Bolnisi election precinct protocol on withdrawal was drawn up against the representatives of “Press Media” due to hindering the activities of Precinct Election Commission multiple times” – stated Ana Mikeladze.
On October 21, voters will elect 2058 members of 64 Sakrebulos and 64 mayors
Municipal Elections will be held on October 21. On October 21, voters will elect 2058 members of 64 Sakrebulos and 64 mayors.
22 political parties, five election blocs, and one initiative group is registered at the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia, and 200 initiative groups are registered by District Election Commissions (DEC) for October 21, 2017 Municipal Elections.
369 mayoral candidates are registered, including 13 in Tbilisi for upcoming elections. A number of registered majoritarian candidates amounts to 4727. According to party lists, a number of candidates running for Sakrebulo membership stand as 12 902.
3,644 polling stations are fully ready (including 10 election precincts created in exceptional cases) to conduct elections.
More than 54 000 representatives of elections subjects (54 389), more than 20 000 (20 641) representatives of local observer organizations and 581 observers from international organizations will observe the elections. More than 4000 (4 820) journalists cover the election process.
On October 21, at 08:00 a.m. all election precincts will be ready to receive voters. Ballot papers, protocols are already handed to DECs and active process of delivery of election documentation and relevant materials is underway. Election precincts are equipped with all the necessary equipment. All the members of polling station have undergone training courses and they are ready to conduct the elections.
2 magnifying sheets are accessible for voters with visual impairments at every election precinct, whereas blind voters may use tactile ballot guide. Deaf voters and voters with hearing impairments as well as beneficiaries of support may access posters reflecting polling procedures at every election precinct. 1153 special ballot booths at the identified election precincts are available for the voters using wheelchairs.
3 440 123 voters are in the unified list of voters. In order to facilitate the data verification of voters and their family members, we offered a number of innovative services to the electorate; It should be noted that 681 824 voters used these services.
9 546 450 ballot papers are printed for Municipal Elections. It is worth underlining, that ballot papers for ethnic minorities are printed into Georgian-Azerbaijani and Georgian-Armenian languages. 208 election precincts are supplied with ballot papers in Georgian-Azerbaijani language, and 133 election precincts with Georgian-Armenian. In addition, trilingual ballot papers (Georgian-Azerbaijani-Armenian languages) will be printed for four election precincts.
We offered innovative service to deaf voters and voters with hearing impairments, namely, they may receive information through video call and in sign language at CEC Call Center.
We have important news for electoral stakeholders – we have created online registration programme which is absolutely unique. As I mentioned before, more than 54 000 representatives of election subjects will observe the elections and majority of them, nearly 95 % of representatives were appointed online at all levels of commissions.
I would like to remind you that according to the election legislation, the agitation on E-day is banned at polling station premise. I would like to address as voters so all authorized persons at election precincts, not to show up at polling stations with advertising/agitation attributes of political subjects. This action may result in fine.
Additionally, on 21 October it is also prohibited to broadcast paid or free commercials on TV and radio and publish public opinion polls about election results until the end of the elections.
We also would like to remind representatives of election subjects and local observers regarding violation of procedures, and submit application/complaint to the relevant precinct election commission (PEC) once the violation is detected; if the response on complaint fails, appellant may immediately submit the same application/complaint to upper DEC. Herewith, we would like to remind you that any kind of complaint submitted to the CEC with regard to violation of procedures in election precincts, based on the legislation, will remain undiscussed.
Following the completion of polling process, vote counting procedures will start at 20:00 p.m. on October 21. Once PEC summary protocols are composed, relevant DECs will deliver them to the CEC in the shortest possible time and immediately after receiving, summary protocols will be uploaded to the special website www.results.cec.gov.ge.
Summary protocols are being uploaded to the CEC results summarizing center and operators enter the summary protocol data in the special program.
With this, today we present another new initiative, which implies to the direct involvement of NGOs in the process of summarizing the results.
Those non-governmental organizations which actively attend CEC sessions, monitor activities of the Commission and participate in the activities organized by Election Administration, may engage in process of summarizing results, namely, their representatives along with CEC operators may enter PEC summary protocol data in the special program.
It should be noted that for the purpose of ensuring the conduct of October 21, 2017 Municipal Elections in a transparent and democratic way, CEC allows anyone to observe the process of summarizing the preliminary results at CEC via internet livestream. A 360-degree camera will be used to broadcast the process through Facebook, Youtube and CEC official webpage.
The CEC call Center - 2 51 00 51 and online chat will work for 24 hours. On October 21, the media center will work for 24 hours at the CEC, where media and observer organizations may receive relevant information on interesting topics. News briefings will be held at the CEC media center during the E-day.
Finally, we call on the voters with due civic responsibility to actively participate in the elections. We also call upon all election stakeholders to respect public interest, take responsibility, act in accordance with the principles of rule of law, and support the conduct of elections in a free and peaceful environment and freedom of expression.
OCTOBER 30/ SECOND ROUND OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN 50 MAJORITARIAN ELECTION DISTRICT
Staff members of Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia conducted another information campaign in Tbilisi. They informed citizens regarding the Second Round Elections of Parliament to be held on October 30. The CEC members during their campaign at the renovated Agmashenebeli Avenue handed the information leaflets to citizens and urged them to participate in the elections.