Belarusians “persuaded” to vote early.
Written calls to vote early are placed not only in public places (shops, hair salons, saunas, etc.) but also in the apartment buildings. However, it is concealed from the voters that they can use the right to vote early only in case they have no opportunity to vote on the Election Day.
Large-scale work to organize early voting is under way in Biaroza. According to a worker of workshop # 3 of Biarozabudmataryaly state company, on September 24th shop foreman Valery Maiseichuk personally approached each worker and said that “the plant administration asked to vote early. We will check that on Friday, September 26th”. When the woman asked who from the administration passed such a request, her boss mentioned shop superintendent Uladzimir Yakshyn.
During the general meeting of the enterprise workers which took place on the same day, the company director Mikalai Zhuk said nothing about early voting, but, as an agent of official candidate Yauhen Kazimirchyk, asked to vote for him in order to support the current policies of the government.
In Navapolatsak library staff replace each other in order to have an opportunity to go and vote early. Polatsak university students experience real pressure to vote early under threat to lose a bed in a dormitory.
Meanwhile, members of several precinct election commissions confess in private conversations, at this election they are not obliged to present the lists of the people who have cast their votes to the district commission every day (as they were during the previous election). This time they are only to give the number of people who vote every day.
Lists with names of the people who have voted are not to be passed to district commissions in Polatsak either. Observers point out, early voting does not have a shade of terrifying compulsion as it used to be during the two previous elections. Administrations of institutions and enterprises tend to ask – not order – their subordinates to vote early. However, a certain number of people remembering the previous elections, go to polling stations automatically.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections