Final report on early voting at the elections of President of the Republic of Belarus in 2015

2015 2015-10-11T02:40:49+0300 2015-10-11T02:40:50+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/logo_eng.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Observation of the election of the President of Belarus is carried out by activists of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" in the framework of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections".


Conclusions

- All in all, 36.05% electors took part in the early voting at the elections of President of the Republic of Belarus, which is the highest per cent compared to the previous presidential campaigns of 2001, 2006 and 2010. In fact, early voting has become a norm, which does not meet the requirements of the Electoral Code;

- During the observation of early voting, observers of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" registered numerous cases of coercion of citizens to participate in early voting by the administration of enterprises and universities. It repeated the negative practices of previous election campaigns;

- Cases of overestimation of turnout were registered at some polling stations, too. The overall discrepancy between the observers' data and the numbers in the PECs' protocols at 144 precincts reached 6.2%. Meanwhile, the discrepancy in some of them exceeds 50%.

- As a result of observation of early voting 48. 55% of observers noted the discrepancy between the number of early voters represented by the PECs and their own calculations;

- Observer of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" Uladzimir Vialichkin, as well as some observers of the campaign "Right to Elect-2015" were unreasonably deprived of accreditation at polling stations;

- The practice of early voting remains one of the systemic problems of the electoral process and creates opportunities for the use of administrative resources and electoral fraud. In this regard, the ODIHR recommendations regarding changes to procedures for early voting remain relevant.


Legal Framework

Early voting in the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus started on 6 October and ended on October 10, 2015

According to Art. 53 of the Electoral Code, a voter who is unable to stay on the territory of his/her electoral precinct on election day, shall be entitled to vote early, but not earlier than five days before the election, at the polling station. The electors don't need to provide any official documents confirming the impossibility of coming to the polling station on the election day.

Early voting takes place in the presence of at least two members of the PEC from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. A separate ballot box is used for the organization of early voting. The ballot box is sealed on the first day of early voting before its beginning, according to the rules established by the Art. 51, part 3 of the EC. Observers have the right to be present during the sealing of the ballot box.

Every day after the end of the voting the commission chairman or his deputy seal the slit in the ballot box with a sheet of paper and sign it. The slit is unsealed every day before the beginning of the voting in presence of the commission chairman or his deputy. Observers have the right to be present during the unsealing of the slit. After the end of each day of voting, the commission chairman or his deputy composes the protocol indicating the number of the ballots, received by the election commission, the number of the people who received ballots (and on the last day of early voting – also the total number of people who received ballots during the early voting), the number of spoiled ballots and the number of unused ballots. The protocol is signed by the commission chairman or his deputy and posted in the voting room for informing the public.

The safety of the ballot box is ensured by the commission chairman. After the closing of the polling station, the responsibility for guarding the polling station lies on employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Neither Electoral Code, nor rulings of the Central Election Commission regulate the questions of keeping the ballots and the lists of electors during the period when the election commissions don't work. The only document that regulates this issue is the Manual for members of PECs on elections of President of the Republic of Belarus, adopted by CEC ruling No. 11 of May 14, 2015, according to which the lists of electors and electoral ballots are to be stored in safes or metal cabinets during the periods from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. next day, and between 2 and 4 p.m. The safe or the metal cabinet is to be sealed by the commission chairman or his deputy after the end of the voting on 7 p.m. every day.


Results of monitoring of the fifth day of early voting at the elections of President of the Republic of Belarus

Observers of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” conducted daily monitoring of early voting at 200 polling stations all over Belarus.

The results of the voting are processed everyday and are representative (monitoring is held at 3.24% of 6,129 polling stations) and allow to judge about the main tendencies in the conduct of early voting.

The information below was obtained by processing the data received from 144 polling stations by 10.00 a.m. on October 11.


Registered violations

Protocols with the information about the early voting weren't hanged out at 0% of polling stations.
Forcing to voting took place at 14.58% of the polling stations.
Non-members of precinct election commissions (PECs) interfered with the work of the commissions at 4.86% of the polling stations.
Precinct election commissions worked outside the schedule at 0.69% of the polling stations.


Conditions for observation

At 1.39% of polling stations obstacles were created for the independent observers who counted the electors who have cast their votes.
At 1.39% of polling stations accreditation denials were issued to independent observers.


Information about the accessibility of the electoral procedures for persons with low mobility and visual impairment

5.17% of persons with the visual impairment had difficulties with voting despite the presence of a magnifying glass or a stencil.
28% of polling stations were inaccessible for people with low mobility, but the commissions had enough people to help handicapped individuals in entering the polling stations.
33.8% of polling stations were accessible for people with low mobility (had ramps, low doorsills and doorways wider than 0.9 meters).


"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"

слухаць Радыё рацыя Міжнародная федэрацыя правоў чалавека Беларуская Інтэрнэт-Бібліятэка КАМУНІКАТ Грамадзкі вэб-архіў ВЫТОКІ Антидискриминационный центр АДЦ 'Мемориал' Prava-BY.info Беларускі Праўны Партал Межрегиональная правозащитная группа - Воронеж/Черноземье
Московская Хельсинкская группа
Молодежное Правозащитное Движение
amnesty international