As part of the EU-funded “Fair Elections for Georgia” project, ISFED is carrying out a nonpartisan citizen observation of the 2020 Parliamentary elections, with the aim of providing Georgian citizens, political actors, and domestic and international stakeholders with impartial assessment of the electoral processes. For that purpose, the organization has deployed a comprehensive monitoring mission for the pre-election period, involving approximately 70 long-term observers (LTOs).
The LTOs, together with ISFED’s staff from headquarters and regional offices, are monitoring the work of the election administration, the Inter-Agency Commission, the State Audit Office (SAO), and other relevant bodies at central and local levels, as well as the political parties, the campaign environment and the overall political processes, including the legal framework, and enforcement of election legislation. The assessments and the findings are compiled and published in the form of statements and interim reports, followed by press briefings and public presentations.
On the election day, ISFED will dispatch approximately 1000 short-term observers (STOs) at polling stations selected through a random representative sample. They will observe the entire process of voting and tabulation in their respective polling stations, while LTOs will monitor the work of district election commissions, including their handling of complaints, handover of polling station materials, tabulation and preparation of protocols. In addition to that, around 70 mobile teams will travel across the electoral districts to cover the polling stations where ISFED will not have an observer present, as well as to assist the STOs and DEC observers in case there are critical situations.
ISFED will also organize incident and PVT/SMS centers at the central office for collecting data from observers. The findings will be compiled and published in the form of election day statements, followed by press briefings and media appearances. ISFED will continue observing the electoral processes in the aftermath of the election day, including through monitoring the process of dispute resolution in district election commissions and courts. The overall monitoring findings will be compiled in final report, tentatively for January 2021.
Throughout the entire election cycle, ISFED will also operate the Elections Portal (www.electionsportal.ge), an online platform that enables individual users to report on election-related incidents and violations. The data, verified by ISFED representatives, will be displayed on interactive incidents maps.
The monitoring methodology for the 2021 Municipal elections will follow the same pattern.
In the first months of the project, ISFED carried out a number of preparatory works; it reviewed the election monitoring methodology, developed an activity timeline, updated training modules, and filled vacant LTO positions for around a dozen electoral districts. ISFED also delivered online trainings for its observers. A total of 69 persons were trained, plus five regional coordinators. ISFED held these trainings in four groups; three sessions for experienced observers on May 27-28, and one session for newly-recruited observers on June 9.
ISFED organized another round of trainings in August 2020. This time, the trainings were held in-person – two sessions for eastern Georgia in Tbilisi on August 7-8 and August 10-11; and two sessions for western Georgia in Kutaisi and Batumi on August 8-9 and August 12-13, respectively. The topics covered included general overview of the political situation, election procedures, election monitoring methodology, reporting mechanisms, ways to retrieve public information, social media monitoring methodology, etc.
ISFED launched the long-term pre-election observation on June 10, 2020. Since then, the organization issued four monitoring reports; an assessment of the pre-election environment on July 1 (https://bit.ly/2YlBlLn), and three interim election monitoring reports – on July 7 (https://bit.ly/3l02mxH), on August 4 (https://bit.ly/3aScZxW) and on September 8 (https://bit.ly/35ZMIx1). The incidents and violations identified in these reports were added to the Elections Portal.
In addition to that, the organization published two assessment reports: one on the selection process of professional members of the Central Election Commission (https://bit.ly/3aRkAwt), and another one on the selection process of professional members of the Supreme Election Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara (https://bit.ly/2EpfefT). Earlier, ISFED also issued a statement on resignations of municipality mayors, voicing doubts that the process could have been driven by the central authorities or the ruling party (https://bit.ly/3aPr6nH).