Controversies around the voters lists
By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, May 6The Central Election Commission (CEC) is encouraging people who have been removed from the list of registered voters that they need to reapply to the relevant precinct. They should provide their latest address based on the address from where he or she was removed from the list of eligible voters by May 15 so as not to lose their vote. On May 1 the Civil Registry Agency (CRA) provided a list of approximately 12 500 potential voters who have been removed from the registration list on the basis of applications made by property owners, who found out that person or persons unknown to them were registered at their apartments. The number was so high that the CEC decided to give all these people an opportunity to register at the precinct where they had previously voted and give their last registered place of residence. According to the information released by Juli Giorgadze, Head of the CEC Press Centre, the CEC has successfully finished consultations with the Governmental and non-governmental political parties as well as the NGO’s and other interested sides to come to the final consensus about the issue.
“We consulted with a wide spectrum of people and then came to the final decision. All the engaged sides had agreed to give these people a chance to express their opinion at the local self-government elections [on May 30]. The CEC finally asserted that all the people removed from registration lists may apply to the nearest district election commissions until May 15 where they will take preliminary registration on the basis of their application form and the copy of their ID card,” Giorgadze explained to The Messenger and added that such voters will only have an opportunity to vote for the party list, not individual majoritarian candidates, but in case of Tbilisi residents, they will have an additional right to vote for the Mayor. Giorgadze appealed to people to always check their registration and formal address in time to avoid any complications in future and reminded them to check their data in special lists at the CRA.
The Opposition has accused the Government of issuing falsified IDs to their activists in order to allow them to cast multiple votes. There have also been cases when several voters were registered in one and the same flat in Tbilisi. Tina Khidasheli, majoritarian candidate of the Alliance for Georgia had a different concern about the issue. “As the representative of the Alliance at the CEC I attended the Commission meeting where I opposed the idea of allowing registration of the people with revoked ID cards in the upcoming elections. No consensus has ever been made among the sides, as the meeting was postponed and when we were just discussing the issue at the following meeting, the CEC and Parliamentary opposition members approved of the idea. The main problem nowadays is that this is the issue of artificially registered people and it is absolutely illegal to encourage their participation at the elections as the new IDs need fake date to be filled in,” Khidasheli told The Messenger.
Eka Siradze, Director of International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, who also cooperated with the CEC on this issue said that the CEC has made an illegal decision about permitting the 12 500 potential voters to register at the precincts according to their last address. “It was absolutely unexpected to us to hear that the CEC had already decided this issue. The CEC came to this conclusion withour our participation. I can’t specify whether this step was right or not, but it is clear that these people have to take preliminary registration at district election commission according to the address from which he or she had been removed,” Siradze told The Messenger stressing that it is important that all the 12 500 people were informed about their opportunity as they are already short of time.
As the Civil Registry Agency explains the main reason why the problem emerged is that people in most of the cases are not notifying the registry when they change address after moving to new place of residence and these people are formally still registered to the flats where they previously lived but still, information on how the unknown persons happened to be in the list registered in someone else’ address remains unanswered.”This is alarming as it gives ground to many suspicions. This should be the subject for special interest for the foreign observers” told The Messenger an unidentified respondent.