Minsk: Replacement of early voting ballot papers is to take place tonight
Friday, September 26th – is the “test” day for early voting. It is believed, replacement of ballot papers will occur tonight when the voting ends. Such a conclusion is made on the basis of information coming from staffers of different Minsk institutions and organizations.
Students of various educational establishments say, their deans promised to give them a day off on Saturday. However, they will get the day off under one condition – that they vote before Friday. However, administrations of different universities use different arguments. For example, students of Minsk Teachers’ University were promised a day off if 90 % of students who live in dormitories vote early. BSU students are allowed to leave classes in order to go to the polls. According to BSUER students, the most obedient students were even promised a bonus – an additional day off on Monday. On the other hand, those who do not vote early, are promised to to be allowed to take exams and might lose a bed in a dormitory.
Policemen and firemen were ordered to vote early as soon as possible. An observer heard about that even from a policeman who was talking on the cell phone on a bus – he explained he was in a rush because he had “to promptly cast vote”. According to our sources, the Ministry of Defense also issued a verbal order to staff and officers to vote promptly. They even announced an afternoon off on September 24th.
Such a rush can be explained easily: the falsifiers have learnt that partisan observers are to be present on Saturday, September 27th, at the polling stations. That is why they have to demonstrate the best “democratic” election process on Saturday. It is clear with such prior preparations the votes of those who come to the polls tomorrow on their own will, will not make any difference with the general results of early voting.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections