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Seal without Carve and Voter with Two Names in Guria

05.11.2013

 
Nino Mshvidobadze, Blog-post from Guria

I love Election Day. Maybe, it is because of my zodiac and despite my surname (Mshvidoba-dze =peace), Aries influenced my love to complicated situations, when I seek solutions and try to defend others’ rights; when I speak loudly about violations and struggle for justice. I guess it is my professional skill too. My profession is full of passion.

In short, I love the Election Day; more correctly I loved in the past because of many incidents that occurred on that day and I had to endlessly write complaints. Honestly, I did not expect any particular incidents during this election, but I hoped for something amusing and went to the nearest Precinct # 9 in Lanchkhuti DEC # 61 at 7:00 am; this polling station is located in my village and I am registered there as a voter.

The lot was cast in peaceful environment. United National Movement’s representative in the PEC participated in the lot for the mobile box and did not refuse to accompany it to the families. Soon, observers and representatives of the presidential candidates also arrived at the precinct. A representative of one of the candidates said: “My daughter is waiting outside; she is pregnant and cannot stand for a long time.” She went and called her in. This person did not know that nobody had right to be in the precinct without badge but we knew and of course did not allow the mother to keep her daughter in the polling station. 

I was first voter in this precinct. Since I was hurrying to other polling stations, other voters allowed me to be the first. The control paper was filled in according to the rule, though the commission chairperson almost forgot to indicate the time in it. I reminded her and the mistake was soon corrected.

We were traveling by a journalist’s car, who was also observing elections like me and we visited many precincts during the day.

Our next stop was at the Lanchkhuti PEC # 8. We noticed a police officer nearby the precinct; we reminded him of the election code, which prohibited law enforcement officers to be in the vicinities of the precincts unless the commission chairperson calls them (Article 59 Paragraph 6 of the Election Code). When we asked the commission chairperson to explain why they had called the police officer and whether they had made relevant note in the log book, we learned that the chairperson did not know that police officer was standing nearby. Although the commission chairperson categorically demanded the police officer to leave the precinct, he called somewhere and “found out” that he could stay within 50 meters distance from the precinct and added that he had received instructions from the MIA.

Two commission members from the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia participated in the lot on the mobile box in Lanchkhuti PEC # 06 and two representatives of one election subject accompanied the box to the families that was violation of the law. Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association filed a complaint on this fact to the District Election Commission. The latter annulled those 36 ballot papers delivered to the precinct # 6 by the mobile box. 

At 17:45 pm, commission members discovered at Precinct # 7 in Lanchkhuti DEC # 61 that the seal did not have a carve. According to the rule, they had to put carve on the seal as soon as the precinct is opened. It is another mechanism to avoid fabrication of votes. By 17:45 pm 230 voters had participated in the elections. Because of this violation, DEC imposed administrative punishment and warned the PEC chairperson; the ballot papers were annulled.

After Lanchkhuti district, we went to Ozurgeti. First we stopped in Ureki Precinct # 14. I noticed Prime-Minister’s brother Adiko Ovanishvili in the yard. “I have already voted and am going home. I am sure we will obtain 85% of votes. Entire Ureki supports us,” the PM’s brother was full of hopes. 

An incident was observed in Chokhatauri district. Mobile box was to be taken to 24 voters from Precinct # 31 in Chokhatauri DEC # 62, though only 23 voters were registered in the journal. PEC chairman stated that although a person was not on the list, he knew who needed the mobile box. Initially that person’s name was Taliko Kacheishvili, but when GYLA prepared a complaint, the chairperson said the voter’s name was Tsutsa Kacheishvili, who had petitioned to the commission for the mobile box. Despite the fact GYLA filed a complaint and the commission secretary was rebuked for that. 

Correction paper was attached to the protocol received from Zoti precinct in Chokhautauri DEC. The paper was sealed and signed by the commission members. As we found out, the final protocol was so dimly sealed that they decided to make relevant note in the log book; but as the PEC chairperson explained: since she could not find relevant box in the paper, they did not fill in the paper and left it empty. 

We noticed village attorneys almost in every precinct in Guria region. The new government clarified that it did not breach the law and attorneys just were interested what was going on. No particular incident occurred in Guria. Apparently, it was the first occasion when noisy Guria people peacefully and calmly held elections.
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