Let's say 'No!' to forced early voting together
Administrative resource is still widely used all regions of the country to secure mass early voting.
According to lawyer Valiantsin Stefanovich, a coordinator of the campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections, observers from regions report about ongoing pressure of administrations of state-run agencies and enterprises on their employees or students to force them to take part in voting before the Election Day, 19 December.
‘Ideological officers were instructed at special meetings this week to ensure maximum early voting turnout. Administration of some enterprises, for example Milk processing plant in Hlybokaye, specifies the persons who must vote earlier,’ Stefanovich said.
According to him, there are registered facts when representatives of administrations and officials as well as MPs and members of local councils addressed labor collectives calling for early voting. ‘Calls to early voting are usually accompanied with agitation for the incumbent president,’ the human rights activist says.
‘At the same time, as the head of the Central Election Commission of Belarus Lidziya Yarmoshyna said during an online press conference on the website of Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi on 26 November in response to a question on responsibility of officials for forcing to early voting, ‘citizens should report on such cases to procuracies’. Yarmoshyna explained such actions fell under general elements of administrative offence ‘hindering free expression of will’ that provides for a fine,’ the lawyer noted.
As Mr. Stefanovich said, human rights defenders are ready to help people who are brave enough to inform prosecutors about facts of forcing to early voting.
‘Moreover, we are going to create a section on our
website to publish photos and video of how people are being made to vote early.
Let prosecutors respond to these cases ‘over the facts of publishing in media,’
the human rights activist stressed.
Those who witness facts of forcing to early voting or become its victims and/or managed to make photo or video shots of it, can send their materials to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org for uploading them to the website.
All such facts must be given publicity. The Belarusian
society and international observers must be informed about them and the
appropriate state agencies must give a legal assessment to such facts.
’Let’s say No! to forced voting together’ – call Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections.