Meeting with International Assessment Mission Members29 October, 2020
Today, the meeting was held with the International Assessment Mission representatives at the Central Election Commission (CEC). Tamar Zhvania, Chairperson of the CEC, and Giorgi Sharabidze, Deputy Chairperson, French Parliament, and international level experts on administering the 31 October 2020 parliamentary elections.
The incomplete list of topics discussed by Tamar Zhvania to the International Assessment Mission representatives includes - epidemiological protocol of Election Day, the safety of voters, necessary regulations for the participation of voters placed in medical institutions and isolation (quarantine, self-isolation) in the polling, pre-election environment, as well as information about registered international organizations for parliamentary elections and electoral subjects. The CEC spokesperson and heads of structural united attended the meeting, as well.
The mission composed of high-ranking public officials of the French Parliament and international experts held meeting in the CEC under the auspices of a local non-governmental organization - the Center for Development and Democracy (CDD).
Elections Are Safe! – the CEC Chairperson Appeals to Voters to be Active29 October, 2020
31 October 2020 is an important day for Georgia. On this day, citizens of Georgia will elect parliament of 10th convocation based on the new electoral system.
I would like to underline that voting is safe even amid pandemic as we follow all recommendations for the safety of your health.
The health of voters and other electoral stakeholders is a top priority for the Central Election Commission (CEC). The Election Administration (EA) with the support of international partners, overcame all challenges which coronavirus pandemic put on the agenda. Therefore, the EA will ensure that voters make their own choices in a free, transparent, and safe environment.
On 31st of October all those preventive measures will be implemented in polling stations to prevent the spread of the infection.
It is also noteworthy that voters will stay in a polling station for a short amount of time which is regarded as less risky in terms of health.
3657 polling stations are open throughout the country for the 31 October elections. I wish to emphasize that the electoral process in the aforementioned polling stations will be administered independently and will have no bearing with election activities that provide services to risk group voters. Moreover, 127 special electoral precincts were established for voters placed in medical institutions, quarantine, and self-isolation. Ensuring the polling as well as vote counting in mentioned precincts will be carried out separately by a special group.
We should all remember that the will of voters is crucial and their choice is the command! Therefore, I would like once again to call on voters to be active and tell them that voting is safe for their health.
Presentation of Gender Policy29 October, 2020
The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia in cooperation with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) designed a new information portal enabling the users to receive the statistical data in gender perspective, that is processed by the Election Administration.
Sophio Sitchinava, Head of Coordination, Planning and Reporting Department of the CEC delivered a presentation. Ms. Sitchinava briefed the meeting participants on the statistical data processed during 2014 - 2020. The statistical data records the information on unified voters' list, electoral subjects, observers and media representatives, as well as Election Administration composition.
CEC representatives, as well as the representatives of the local and international non-governmental organizations working on gender issues, Government Administration and staff members of the Parliament attended the virtual meeting.
The CEC Chairperson Provided President of Georgia of Georgia with Information on Preparations for 31 October Elections28 October, 2020
The Administration of President of Georgia received comprehensive information on current issues and electoral activities related to the 31 October 2020 parliamentary elections of Georgia from Tamar Zhvania, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC). Tamar Zhvania briefed the Administration of President on administering the elections, as well.
President showed interest in specific mechanisms that will be used on Election Day to maximally protect the health and safety of voters.
Tamar Zhvania detailed the administration on procedures of how self-isolated voters will participate in the elections. The President of Georgia stressed the importance of protecting the constitutional right of individuals to participate in elections.
The CEC Chairperson also delivered information about protocols adopted in cooperation with electoral stakeholders upon which self-isolated voters will be able to realize their constitutional right and vote in 31 October elections. Tamar Zhvania noted that to best inform self-isolated voters, the Election Administration (EA) ran an active informative campaign.
The CEC Chairperson also explained in detail the decrees adopted regarding the safe conduct of elections amid pandemic. Chairperson noted that based on decrees adopted in consultation with involved parties, the epidemiological protocol for E-day, as well as regulations necessary for the participation of voters placed in medical institutions and isolation (quarantine, self-isolation) were defined, which ensures a safe electoral environment for the health of all. It will be safe to go to elections if the aforementioned regulations are followed.
It is noteworthy that communication between the Administration of the President and the CEC Chairperson regarding the election process took place several times.
Statement Regarding Attempt on Discrediting the Election Administration and Harming Electoral Environment27 October, 2020
Over the last few days, the repeated pattern of discrediting the Election Administration (EA) and harming the electoral environment was observed. In particular, by disseminating unspecified and incorrect information and pressuring the EA, some politically driven parties are trying to impede the work of the administration and discredit it.
We would like to inform you that we find it very important for our administration that every citizen of Georgia and all electoral stakeholders may exercise their constitutional right in a safe electoral environment to their health.
To realize the aforementioned right, the Central Election Commission (CEC) in close cooperation with electoral stakeholders, developed and adopted by decree certain electoral procedures and sanitary hygiene requirements to be followed by voters in medical institutions and isolation to ensure their participation in all types of elections. The process of drafting the decree was transparent, with the participation of political parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and only three NGOs commented on the decision to be made, most of which were reflected in the final decision.
According to the decree, self-isolated individuals were given the possibility to use a mobile ballot box if they were on the lists provided by the relevant agency, and simultaneously they would be in self-isolation by polling day. It is noteworthy that by the decision of the CEC, the deadline for self-isolated individuals to request the mobile ballot box was extended until 14:00 of October 27th, and due to the active appeal of citizens, CEC Call-Information Center received calls until 18:00. All media means were used and the CEC provided maximum information to voters, despite tireless work of the CEC, the pressure against the EA concerning this matter has not ceased and it has repeated pattern of disruption.
It should be noted, that precisely when three days are left until Election Day and election commissions are involved in organizing and administering the elections 24 hours a day and we have to coordinate many logistical or other processes, including pandemic-related, it can be said that activities planned by subjects with such a specific agenda is attempt to pressure the EA, discredit it and disrupt its work.
Based on the abovementioned, we call on all electoral stakeholders, local and international observer organizations, the media, all involved parties who conduct their activities impartially, following professional standards and ethical norms, to actively observe ongoing electoral processes which will support the transparency of the process and credibility and prevent disseminating inaccurate information damaging the election process to the public.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the CEC offered a working meeting with representatives of the youth organization of one of the political parties - participants of the rally taking place now in front of the CEC, but they refused to meet.
Distant Informational - Training Course “Polling Day Procedures” for Interested Persons27 October, 2020
The Training Centre in cooperation with the CEC implemented intensive informational campaign for October 31, 2020 Elections, in order to support raising of electoral awareness. Within the informational-training programs voters and stakeholders (representatives of electoral subjects, local observer organizations, media, as well as, potential women candidates, representatives of public institutions) were informed about various important electoral issues, including amendments to legislation and regulations related to holding elections in safe environment under pandemic.
To ensure boosting of awareness, the Training Centre, as an additional resource, developed distant Informational - Training Course “Polling Day Procedures”. The program is published on Electronic Training Platform (availble in Georgian) and is available at the CEC and Training Centre websites and accessible for every interested person. Within this course the program users will get acquainted with the detailed information about issues related to polling day procedures, such as: opening of the polling station and procedures to be carried out before the start of voting; polling process; protection of voters personal data during the voting; powers of person authorized to be at polling station; closing election precinct and vote counting process; summarizing polling results at Precinct Election Commission; polling day applications/complaints; regulations related to photo/video shooting at polling station; regulations related to holding elections under pandemic. Test assignments are also integrated in the program, so that the user has an ability to test his/her knowledge.
Considering the high activity of voters being in self-isolation, the CEC Call Center will receive calls until today, 18:0027 October, 2020
Since the high activity of the voters being in self isolation is observed, the CEC Call Center will receive the calls on requesting the mobile ballot box until 18:00 of the October 27th. They may call at the following telephone number 2-51-00-51 (0).
We would like to kindly remind you that only self-isolated voters whose data is officially recorded in a database of the relevant agency and they apply the CEC Call Center with the official request, will be able to use the mobile ballot box.
The CEC Calls on Self-Isolated Voters to Be Active and Request the Mobile Ballot Box Service27 October, 2020
The Central Election Commission (CEC) once again calls on self-isolated voters to be active and call the CEC Call-Information Center and request the mobile ballot box service.
Please call the following telephone number 2-51-00-51 (0) today on October 27th before 14:00 and request the mobile ballot box. The calls are being received even these minutes.
We would like to remind you of the decision adopted by the CEC at the October 26 meeting concerning the extension of the deadline for self-isolated voters to request the mobile ballot box. Based on the decision, the mentioned category of citizens will be able to indicate their requests until 14:00 of October 27th. Only self-isolated voters whose data is officially recorded in a database of the relevant agency will be able to use the mobile ballot box.
Additionally, at the same meeting was decided to extend the registration deadline for electoral subjects, local and international observer organizations, and the media outlets until 18:00 of October 27 for their engagement in the electoral process at special polling stations.
The Election Administration appeals to self-isolated voters as well as electoral stakeholders to contact us timely and go through the relevant procedures.