Press Release # 2: The voting process in Omsk
Civic Voice, the publication established by GOLOS Association for the Protection of the Rights of Voters, has deployed 57 correspondents to monitor the early mayoral elections in Omsk. The correspondents will observe the voting and counting processes at polling stations, and the tabulation process at higher electoral commissions. Monitors from the independent organization “Petersburg Observers” and from the “Citizen Observer” worked in partnership with GOLOS. Further observation was conducted by observers in St. Petersburg, who viewed live web-camera broadcasts on the Internet.
99 of the polling stations are equipped with electronic ballot boxes (22.1%), and 434 are equipped with web-cameras (96.88%). According to our data, by 10:00 observers were unable to access footage from all of the polling stations equipped with web-cameras. The Municipal Election Commission (MEC) was notified.
As an organization guided in its work by internationally prescribed standards for election observation, GOLOS Association strictly adheres to political neutrality as a fundamental element of independent and objective monitoring. Throughout the course of the electoral campaign, GOLOS is guided by universally accepted international electoral standards, as well as by regional electoral standards and the norms established by Russian electoral law.
On 17 June 2012, Civic Voice correspondents will visit approximately 287 precinct electoral commissions (PECs), or 64.06%.
Observers for the candidates were present in the PECs. Observers for the leading mayoral candidate, Dvorakovskiy, were present in 95.5% of polling stations. Observers for Zharkov were present in 81.8%. Observers for the other candidates were sporadically present.
Correspondents met with difficulty gaining admission to two polling stations (3.6%). Correspondents were prevented from monitoring in PEC # 362, based allegedly on their lack of accreditation from the Territorial Electoral Commission (TEC). Correspondents in PEC # 280 were forbidden from taking photographs or making video recordings. They were also prevented from moving freely in the polling station, thus hindering their monitoring capacities. Following an appeal to a higher commission, these misunderstandings were resolved.
According to data received by the hotline, the voter lists in PECs 10, 12, 310, 367, and 445 contain pencil-drawn markings of the letter, “M.” The mobile brigade has been deployed to PECs 10 and 12. Following an appeal to a higher electoral commission, the complaint against PEC # 445 was eliminated and the complaint against PEC # 310 has been filed.
Observers have reported violations relating to the issuance of ballots in close proximity to ballot boxes and voting booths in PECs # 218, 71, 216, and 215 (5.4%).
One correspondent reported that the voter lists were unbound in PEC # 181.
In PECs # 218, 217, and 105, correspondents reported difficulties with observing the mobile ballot boes, as they were located out of the correspondents’ line of sight. Violations relating to the locations of ballot issuance, ballot boxes, and voting booths were reported in PECs # 218, 71, 216, and 215.
PEC # 336 merged with PEC # 337 due to the small number of voters in each. This decision was reached on 27 May, less than 45 days prior to Election Day.
In PEC #447, a massive amount of gel-filled balloons obstructed the web-camera footage, according to Citizen Observer correspondents.
In PEC #388, the stationary ballot box was not sealed, according to a web-camera observer in St. Petersburg. Upon arrival, the mobile brigade found the ballot box to be sealed.
In PECs #143, 144, 451, and 452, United Russia posters featuring pictures of Dmitry Medvedev were found on premises. A complaint was filed and the posters were removed.
Information on violations can be submitted to GOLOS by way of its hotline at 8 800 333 33–50, or can be posted on the Map of Electoral Violations site at www.kartanarusheniy.org.
After 20:00, the SMS-CEC service will begin its parallel summarization of the electoral results at www.sms.golos.org.
Results of GOLOS Association’s monitoring of the Omsk elections will be summarized on 18 June 2012. A statement on the course of the elections will be distributed to representatives of the media at a joint press conference, which will be held at 12:00 in the conference hall on the third floor of the “Turist” hotel at 2 Broz Tiro Ulitsa. The statement will be posted on GOLOS’ website as well, available at: www.golos.org.