Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Lidziya Yarmoshyna: Observers should enjoy exercisable right to observe vote count

Tamara Shchapiotkina, an observer from Biaroza, received yesterday a letter from the Central Election Commission sent in response to her complaint. The CEC chair Lidziya Yarmoshyna says that the observer knows “the position of the Central Election Commission on the matters raised in the complaint.” “It ensures the need of the observer to enjoy an exercisable right to observe the counting of votes,” said the letter.

Tamara Shchapiotkina, who observed the vote at polling station No. 11, complained about the impossibility to actually see the vote count. The observer was forced to sit at a distance of three meters from the table where the ballots were counted. According to her, all one could see from the distance was a twinkle of hands with ballots, and not the content of the ballots. In her complaint, Ms. Shchapiotkina stressed that the observer could not see each ballot even when standing near the table, since they were counted by 11-15 people at a time. The observer argued that the chairman of the election commission misinterpreted the concept of “the actual vote count” or deliberately made the vote count non-transparent. Tamara Shchapiotkina suggested that in the upcoming elections the CEC should organize the work of the commissions so that all the ballots were managed by one of the commission members or its chairman, who would then announce and show the result.

However, the observer’s suggestion was ignored by the Central Election Commission, citing the fact that the complaint should have been filed no later than 10 days after the alleged violation, in accordance with Article 49-1 of the Electoral Code, thus repeating what is enshrined in the methodological recommendations of the CEC, but does not work in practice.

“Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections”