Up to 4,000 invalid ballots – what happened in Lagodekhi

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About 1300 voters were registered in the 19th polling station of the 15th election district of Lagodekhi (village Kabali). On October 2, 516 people went to the polls. The ballot paper concludes that 162 of the ballots for the mayoral election have been canceled. 83 invalid ballots in the first precinct of Lagodekhi, 89 in the second precinct, 87 in the fifth precinct.

In total, up to 4,000 ballot papers were annulled in 38 polling stations in Lagodekhi Municipality, both in the mayoralty and in the majoritarian and proportional parts.

This number of invalid ballots raises question marks for almost all the people who were involved in the election process. Including the non-governmental organization International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy. Nana Devidze, head of the organization’s Kakheti regional branch, told RFE / RL that most of the invalid ballots were about 2,300 mayors.

“We have written complaints, which are being considered by the commission today. We have 204 invalid ballot papers in the 20th polling station of the 15th district of Lagodekhi, there are precincts where there are 162 and 141 invalid ballot papers. We are requesting a recount of the precincts. – says Nana Devidze.

Review of complaints in Lagodekhi District Commission

Lagodekhi District Election Commission reviewed some of the complaints today, including Fair Elections. The non-governmental organization demanded the recount of invalid ballot papers in at least 6 precincts in Lagodekhi municipality. In 5 cases, the district did not comply with this request, while one complaint was granted and the ballot papers of Lagodekhi 20th precinct, including the void, will be recounted. Giorgi Darbaidze, the chairman of the district commission, says that in 5 cases the procedure and deadlines for writing complaints were not observed, but he knows that the two precincts, which require fair recounts, have already been recounted.

“These two precincts were identified and recounted by lottery. The number of invalid ballots has not actually changed. “A statement. A similar complaint should have been lodged with the precinct commission and the commission should have been heard, only then should it have been lodged with the district commission. We can not judge and we will not break the law in this regard.”

The process of counting ballot papers

The process of counting ballot papers

A representative of the opposition also attended the hearing of the complaints in the District Election Commission. Lali Gelashvili defends the interests of the United National Movement in the district commission. He says that he himself attended the counting process in several polling stations and saw with his own eyes that none of the candidates were marked in most of the invalid ballots. Lali Gelashvili has her own version of what happened on October 2 in Lagodekhi polling stations.

“Most of the invalidity was found in the mayor’s ballots, where our party (UNM) was not represented. When voters came out of the polling stations, they said they were looking for number 5 and could not find it. We saw for ourselves that the ballot papers were empty in the envelope ”

The Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia also links the abundance of invalid ballots in the Lagodekhi constituency to the fact that the UNM did not have a mayoral candidate, and because opposition voters could not find the desired number on the mayor’s ballot, he left it intact. There were two mayoral candidates in Lagodekhi. From Georgian Dream and Giorgi Vashadze’s third-force strategy from Aghmashenebeli. The independent mayoral candidate, who was also backed by the National Movement, withdrew his candidacy a month before the election.

“During this type of election, when there were three ballot papers, and when most of the opposition parties did not have a mayoral candidate, something similar happened. I can not say that this is a normal process, but it is their (voter’s) will and so not all three ballot papers were circled.”

According to the preliminary data of the CEC, the second round of elections will not be held in Lagodekhi constituency at this time. Jondo Mdivnishvili, the Georgian Dream candidate, received 70 percent support in the mayoral election. As for the Sakrebulo – the ruling team will have 17 seats in the 30-member representative body, the National Movement will have 9 seats, Giorgi Vashadze’s platform will have two seats in the third force, and the party of the former Prime Minister will have one seat. One person will enter Lagodekhi Sakrebulo with the status of an independent MP.

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