Observers note “typical” irregularities in early voting

2008 2008-09-24T13:30:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

As many as 2.7 percent of the country’s all registered voters cast ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the central election commission.

Mr. Stefanovich, who is a coordinator of a group monitoring the vote, said that election observers were denied any information about the progress of early voting by members of precinct election commissions. “Our observers are not told how many ballots have been brought to polling stations, how many people are on electoral registers, how many people voted on the first day of early voting,” he said.

The human rights activist noted that university students were compelled to vote early on a massive scale. “Such insistent ‘requests’ are followed by a variety of pretexts: dormitory residents who voted early are promised to be excused from classes on Saturday, September 27, so that they can visit their homes. They speak about the ‘honor of faculties,’ say that early voting will benefit faculties. This is pure populism,” Mr. Stefanovich said.

He stressed that similar irregularities had been reported in the 2004 parliamentary elections and the 2006 presidential vote.

Human rights defenders are currently drawing up an interim report on the progress of the election campaign and are expected to release the final report after September 28, the main voting day.

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