Georgia

Results of parallel vote tabulation

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) monitored the October 31, 2020 Parliamentary Elections in all electoral districts around Georgia. ISFED Election Day Observation Mission consisted of around 1000 accredited and trained observers deployed to polling stations, 73 observers deployed at district electoral commissions and 78 mobile groups. ISFED also operated PVT and Incident Centers in the central office with 20 operators and 11 lawyers. The elections tool place during a global pandemic: COVID-19. ISFED staff and observers were following the safety guidelines as necessitated by COVID-19 while they conducted their observation duties.

ISFED’s Election Day observation of the Parliamentary Elections is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology, where PVT observers are deployed to a statistically sound, nationally representative sample of polling stations throughout the country. The PVT methodology enabled ISFED to quickly detect violations, systematically evaluate the quality of the entire Election Day process, and verify the accuracy official results of the proportional race within a small margin of error.

In this statement, ISFED presents its final assessment of the voting process and the PVT results. 

Key findings

According to information obtained through the PVT methodology, ISFED concludes that in the vote tabulation process there was a tendency of mismatches in the summary protocols, when the number of ballot papers cast exceeded the number of signatures in voters lists, which represents a violation. Additionally, at certain polling stations the mismatch was significantly higher than individual cases. Such violations were reported at 8% of polling stations. A tendency of this scale has not been documented in the past years, and hence, this requires particular attention. Although such tendency could have had certain influence on the results of electoral subjects, the PVT analysis shows that its maximum impact on election results would be less than 4.1%. This tendency endangers trust towards the electoral process, and requires immediate reaction from the electoral administration.

We believe that in order to increase trust towards the electoral process, before announcing the final results, the election administration should recount the results of those polling stations, where there are more ballots in the summary protocol. We think that in the interest of transparency, representatives of electoral subjects, political parties, international organizations and local non-governmental organizations should be invited at the vote recount process.

Along with the tendency of vote mismatch, there were attempts by commission members at some polling stations, not to hand out properly validated copies of summary protocols to ISFED observers, citing primarily technical difficulties or absence of respective equipment. Pressure on and interference in the work of observers was a significant violation as well. At some polling stations, there also were procedural violations in the vote counting process.

ISFED observers filed 94 complaints at Precinct Election Commissions, 106 complaints at District Election Commissions and 37 entries in the record book.

Detailed information from the PVT

According to the information submitted by ISFED observers, final voter turnout was 56.7% with a margin of error of +/-0.6%, which is higher than the 2016 parliamentary election when the turnout was 52.9%.

Voter turnout in Tbilisi is 55.4%, which is higher compared to the 2016 Parliamentary elections (49.9%). In the regions (excluding Tbilisi), voter turnout is 57.2%, which is higher compared to 2016 elections (52.3%). 

At 99.8% of polling stations, no unauthorized persons were present during the counting process, which is an almost identical figure as in the 2016 parliamentary elections (99.9%).

At 4.4% of polling stations, no party representatives were present. There were Georgian Dream representatives at 90.4% of polling stations, while UNM representatives were present at 87.15% of polling stations. A party representative for the Alliance of the Patriots of Georgia was present in 54.4% of polling stations. A party representative for Lelo was present in 62.1% of polling stations. In 69.0% of polling stations, a party representative for European Georgia was present. In 11.6% of polling stations, a party representative for Georgian March was present.     

At 42.0% of polling stations, one or more complaints were filed.

At 99.4% of polling stations, in the vote tabulation process, functions were assigned in compliance with procedures of casting of lots.

At 99.3% of polling stations, procedures of vote tabulation and announcement of results were carried out transparently.

From 17:00 to 20:00, COVID-19 regulations were upheld at 98.3% of polling stations.

Results

Based on the information received in the course of the Election Day, ISFED is confident in the PVT results. ISFED received information from 96.1% of its observers.

Below are the list of parties/candidates that cleared the 1% threshold. The table also includes maximum and minimum results for each of the electoral subjects (with 95% confidence interval).

Party

Calculated result

Margin of error

Minimum results

Maximum results

#41 Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia

45.8%

0.7%

45.1%

46.5%

#5 United National Movement

26.4%

0.6%

25.8%

27.0%

#2 Bakradze, Ugulava, Bokeria – European Georgia

3.7%

0.2%

3.5%

3.9%

#8 Davit Tarkhan-Mouravi, Irma Inashvili – Alliance of Patriots

3.1%

0.1%

3.0%

3.2%

#56 Lelo – Mamuka Khazaradze

3.1%

0.2%

2.9%

3.3%

#27 Vashadze – Strategy Aghmashenebeli

3.0%

0.1%

2.9%

3.1%

#36 Girchi

2.8%

0.2%

2.6%

3.0%

#24 Aleko Elisashvili – Citizens

1.3%

0.1%

1.2%

1.4%

#10 Shalva Natelashvili – Labor Party

1.0%

0.1%

0.9%

1.1%

#3 Nino Burjanadze – United Georgia

0.9%

0.1%

0.8%

1.0%


It is worth noting that the percentage of votes received by #10 Shalva Natelashvili – Labor Party fluctuates between 0.9% and 1.1%, while the percentage of voters obtained by Nino Burjanadze – United Georgia is hovers between 0.8% and 1.0%. Therefore, ISFED cannot definitively claim that the two parties cleared the 1% threshold.

The percentage of invalid ballots across the country accounted for 3.5% (with 0.1% margin of error), which is higher than the corresponding figure for the 2016 elections (3.2%).

Violations

ISFED observers have reported following violations:

Pressuring observers and restriction of their rights

  • At polling station #69 of Kutaisi election district (#59), the PEC assigned the tabulation functions without casting of lots; ISFED observer protested and called on the commission to follow procedures. A Georgian Dream representative by the last name of Barabadze insulted the observer verbally and attempted to insult physically as well. The commission members made observer’s work at the polling station impossible with their aggressive behavior. They were yelling at the observer and insulting verbally. All commission members took part in this.
  • At polling station #3 of Kvareli election district (#16), Georgian Dream representative, Lali Okhanashvili was aggressive towards the ISFED observer throughout the day. She was not letting the observer to take photos.
  • At polling station #71 of Isani election district (#5), UNM-appointed commission member, Zaza Alkhanishvili was not assigned with the role of a vote tabulator, but he was still checking the ballots with his hands. He verbally insulted ISFED’s observer, after the latter’s remarks about it.
  • At polling station #69 of Marneuli election district (#22), PEC chair and secretary refused to register a complaint concerning the violation.
  • At polling station #124 of Kutaisi election district (#59), PEC chair and secretary did not inform the ISFED observer on the number of voters in the mobile box voters list.

Mismatch in summary protocols

  • At polling station #14 of Zugdidi election district (#67), there are more proportional votes in the summary protocol.
  • At polling station #47 of Vake election district (#2), one extra ballot was found compared to the number of signatures in the voters list. One of the registrars wrote an explanatory note on the matter. The results were recounted, but the extra vote was still recorded.
  • At polling station #33 of Saburtalo election district (#3), there are 54 more ballots in the proportional summary protocols than the number of signatures.
  • At polling station #56 of Saburtalo election district (#3), there are 19 more ballots in the proportional summary protocols than the number of signatures.
  • At polling station #25 of Saburtalo election district (#3), there were 40 more ballots in the proportional and majoritarian summary protocols (20 ballots each) than the number of signatures in the voters list.
  • At polling station #84 of Isani election district (#5), the sum of votes received in proportional contest and invalid votes is less than the number of signatures (29 votes difference).
  • At polling stations #90 and #92 of Saburtalo election district (#3), there is one extra ballot in the summary protocol of proportional contest than the number of signatures.
  • At polling station #19 of Terjola election district (#49), the sum of votes received in proportional contest and invalid votes is different than the overall number of voters for all voter’s lists. Namely, it is 19 votes fewer than number in the majoritarian protocol and 54 votes fewer than the number in proportional protocol.
  • At polling station #20 of Terjola election district (#49), the sum of votes received in proportional contest and invalid votes was higher (by three votes) than the overall number of voters for all voter’s lists.
  • At polling station #7 of Akhmeta election district (#18), there are 210 more signatures than the number of votes recorded in the summary protocol of proportional contest.
  • At polling station #89 of Marneuli election district (#22), there are 83 less votes in the summary protocol of proportional contest than the number of signatures.
  • At polling station #48 of Marneuli election district (#22), there is one extra ballot in the summary protocol of proportional contest than the number of signatures.

Failure to hand out summary protocols

  • At polling station #94 of Nadzaladevi election district (#9), PEC chair and secretary did not validate summary protocol with required information in spite of requests.
  • At polling station #24 of Kvareli election district (#16), PEC chair did not give a summary protocol to an observer, Mariam Shekeladze.
  • At polling station #32 of Lagodekhi election district (#15), and polling station #10 of Martvili election district (#65), the summary protocol was not given to the observer, citing printer failure.
  • At polling station #13 of Ninotsminda election district (#41), and polling station #124 of Kutaisi election district (#59), the summary protocol was not given to the observer, citing printer failure.
  • At polling station #18 of Marneuli election district (#22), the summary protocol went missing.
  • At polling station #9 of Dmanisi election district (#24), and 2 polling stations of Akhalkalaki election district (#40), the protocol was not given to the observer, citing absence of printer.
  • At polling station #42 of Khashuri election district (#35), the summary protocol was not given to the observer, citing printer failure. The protocol copy was handed to the observer shortly after he/she started filing a complaint.
  • At polling station #106 of Zugdidi election district (#67), PEC chair did not give a summary protocol to an observer, citing printer failure.

Correction of summary protocols

  • At polling station #20 of Dusheti election district (#28), the protocol information was amended, but the corresponding correction protocol was missing.
  • At polling station #12 of Marneuli election district (#22), the protocol information was amended, but the corresponding correction protocol was missing. At the same time, the commission stamps were not sealed.
  • At polling station #32 of Terjola election district (#49), two numbers are amended in the summary protocol.

Insufficient validation information on summary protocols

  • At polling station #6 of Tianeti election district (#19), PEC stamp, date and time were missing from the respective section in the summary protocol.
  • At polling station #21 of Tianeti election district (#19), PEC registrars’ stamp numbers are missing from the respective section in the summary protocol.
  • At polling station #22 of Vani election district (#53), summary protocols were not validated with the PEC stamp.
  • At polling station #88 of Marneuli election district (#22), summary protocol for majoritarian contest is missing the number of voters in all lists for 12:00 and 17:00.
  • At polling station #8 of Nadzaladevi election district (#9), summary protocol was not validated with the PEC stamp.

Inaccurate filling in of summary protocols

  • At polling station #42 of Bolnisi election district (#23), the summary protocol was missing the proportional results of the Georgian Dream.
  • At polling station #84 of Batumi election district (#79), the summary protocol was missing the total number of voters at that precinct.

Unjustified annulment of ballots

  • At polling station #60 of Bolnisi election district (#6), vote tabulators and PEC chair declared invalid two ballots that had all candidates crossed and a single candidate circled. Although the voters’ will was articulated, the commission decided to invalidate the ballots.

Violations related to voters list

  • At polling station #69 of Marneuli election district (#22), the election commission violated the sequence of procedures of vote tabulation. Namely, the PEC put envelopes of mobile and main boxes together, without counting the mobile box voter’s list. After opening of boxes and mixing the ballots, they found that the mobile box voters list was missing. Nor were there the signatures of voters who voted through mobile box. The list was latter located.

Improper validation of electoral documentation

  • At polling station #39 of Mtskheta election district (#27), many ballot papers were missing registrars’ signatures. PEC chair did not let ISFED observer to verify the number of ballots declared invalid for that reason, as well as the name and the last name of the registrar responsible for signing the ballots.
  • At polling station #69 of Kutaisi election district (#59), some ballot papers were missing registrars’ signatures, and this was found only in the tabulation process.
  • At polling station #8 of Telavi election district (#17), PEC chair gave a summary protocol to ISFED observer only with the chair’s signature. The chair refused to stamp the protocol, arguing that he/she had to verify accuracy of the summary protocol at the District Election Commission.

Procedural violation in vote tabulation

  • At polling station #52 of Ozurgeti election district (#60), counted ballots for each electoral subjects were not sealed in separate envelopes.

Below you may watch a recording with English interpretation of ISFED's press briefing presenting their observation findings and parallel vote tabulation

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