Today, Municipal Elections is being conducted in Georgia. All election precincts were open for voters, at 08:00 am.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) held its first news briefing to announce the start of the polling.
According to Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Spokesperson, the polling process is being conducted in a peaceful and accessible election environment. Today, the voters will elect 2058 members of 64 Sakrebulos and 64 mayors. As for the number of voters, 3 440 123 voters are included in the unified voters’ list.
“We would like to remind the voters that at election precincts they will receive three types of ballot papers: one - blue ballot paper is intended for proportional elections to elect the political party or election bloc, second – pink ballot paper - for electing majoritarian member of Sakrebulo, third – light green ballot paper - for electing mayor of self-governing city or self-governing community” - stated Ana Mikleadze
It should be also stated that the ballot papers in Georgian-Azerbaijani, Georgian-Armenian as well as trilingual ballot papers in Georgian-Azerbaijani-Armenian languages are available for ethnic minority voters at respective election precincts.
Magnifying sheets are accessible for voters with visual impairments at election precincts and tactile ballot guide for blind voters. The deaf and hard of hearing voters as well as beneficiaries of support will receive information about the polling process via special poster. Special voting booths are available for voters using a wheelchair at 1153 adapted election precincts.
54 389 representatives of election subjects, 20 641 of local and 581 international observers will monitor the election process. In addition, 4 820 accredited journalists will cover the elections.
After closing the polling stations at 20:00 pm, the vote counting procedures will start at the election precincts. Upon receipt of summary protocols, the CEC will gradually upload them on the special webpage www.results.cec.gov.ge.
“Hereby, let me remind you that agitation at polling stations is prohibited by the election legislation. It is also prohibited to place any paid or free political advertisement on television and radio. It is also prohibited to publish public opinion poll results before 20:00” – announced Ana Mikeladze.
According to Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Call Center - 2 51 00 51 and online chat will operate for 24 hours on E-day.
”Citizens and electoral stakeholders may apply to the Election Administration in order to receive or provide any election-related information. Hereby, the Election Administration urges voters to participate in elections and appeals to the election stakeholders to support the conduct of elections in calm and free election environment” - stated Ana Mikeladze.
The Election Administration will be delivering the information on polling process and voter turnout during the whole E-day. Six news briefings will be conducted during the day.
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.