Home News "Akanates" observation mission statement: Data as of 4:00 pm
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2021 Jun
20

"Akanates" observation mission statement: Data as of 4:00 pm

The Akanates observation mission continued its observation of a sample of 300 polling stations, spread across every region of the country.

Following up on our earlier communication regarding poll openings, below are incidents observed over the course of the voting process throughout the day.

Intentional violations of ballot secrecy and surveillance/directing of voters

  • At Polling Station 34/24, within the amalgamated Sisian municipality of Syunik region, the voter announced that he had not received a #3 ballot as left the voting booth.
  • At Polling Station 9/44, in Yerevan, the authorized agent for the Armenian National Congress Party was sitting next to the voting booth at an angle that violated voters’ ballot secrecy. The PEC chair was notified, after which the PEC chair asked the authorized agent to move but was refused. Subsequently, a police officer also requested the authorized agent to move but was also refused. The authorized agent argued that he has a right to oversee the room. After some time, the authorized agent eventually moved.
  • At Polling Station 20/50, within the Geghamasar community of Gegharkunik region, between 8։00 am and 9։15 am, a few military servicemen voted without maintaining the secrecy of their ballot. Our observer brought the incidents to the attention of the PEC chair, who invalidated the ballots. At 9:50 am, another military servicemen submitted an empty envelope and left the polling station. The PEC chair affixed a holographic stamp on the empty envelope and dropped it himself into the ballot box.
  • At Polling Station 9/58, in the Central (Kendron) district of Yerevan, at around 1:00 pm, the authorized agent of the Armenia Alliance arrived and positioned himself very near the voting booth, such that he violated the secrecy of the vote. When this was raised by our observer, he moved away from the voting booth.
  • At Polling Station 20/57, in the Geghamasar community of Gegharkuni, region, our observer noticed that the authorized agent for the I’m Honored Alliance, Zoya Gevorgyan, had lists with her that contained the first and last names of voters, on which she was making notes and subsequently making phone calls. Gevorgyan is the mayor Shatjrek. Our observer noticed her cooperating with the authorized agent for the Armenia Alliance. Gevorgyan also made regular calls to one of the commission members, and the two went up to the second floor to discuss. Our observer approached Gevorgyan to ask what list she had and whether she knew these people. Gevorgyan responded “These are my residents, shouldn’t I know who has come? I am making notes for myself.” Our observer informed the PEC chair, suggesting that he believed that voters were being surveilled.
  • At Polling Station 29/8, in the city of Abovyan in Kotayk region, the authorized agent for the Prosperous Armenia Party was frequently speaking with voters as they went in to vote and directing them. Our observer made a note of this in the official register for the polling station, which upset PEC chair Ashot Virapyan. An incident was also recorded. Subsequently, the authorized agent left the polling station.
  • At Polling Station 21/51, in the city of Vardenis in Gegharkunik region, at 10:55 am, our observer noticed that the #24 ballot handed to a voter had a mark on it. The incident was reported to the PEC chair and a party authorized agent. The PEC chair canceled the ballot and recorded the incident in the official polling station register.
  • At Polling Station 24/57, in the Shnogh community of Lori region, our observer noticed a vehicle bringing voters to the polling station. It was a white Nissan Teana, with license plate 92AA007. Our observer saw the vehicle return and bring an elderly lady. As the lady exited the vehicle, the driver said “#24, don’t forget.” Our observer photographed the vehicle and tried to speak to the driver but was not able to. Next to the vehicle was a police patrolcar.
  • At Polling Station 10/24, in the Erebuni district of Yerevan, the authorized agent for the Armenia Alliance (according to others in the polling station, our observer was not able to read his badge) regularly directed voters to the voting booth and ripped the unused ballot papers. Other than that, our observer noticed that the authorized agent took the ballot papers from the hands of a PEC member and gave them to the voters.
  • At Polling Station 11/27 in Yerevan, our observer noticed that a voter, after already having voted, returned to the polling station wearing different clothes. A second voter also did this. The PEC chair also noticed and asked the person to leave the premises. Our observer also noticed a vehicle that was regularly bringing people to the polling station.
  • At Polling Station 34/4, in the city of Goris in Syunik region, the observer for the Legal Culture Development Institute, Artur Hambardzumyan, directed a voter that was familiar to him to vote for the Armenia Alliance.
  • At Polling Station 36/48, in the city of Jermuk in Vayots Dzor region, our observer recorded instances of the authorized agent for the Armenia Alliance directing voters. Specifically, he spoke to them as they approached the voting booth together, and whispered to them asking if they had voted correctly or not. Such violations were continuous. Also, the number of authorized party agents exceeded the maximum limit set in the Electoral Code (2), as multiple agents went in and out of the polling station, without the times being recorded in the official poll register. The PEC chair did not take any steps to correct these violations.
  • At Polling Station 11/34 in the Ghukasavan community of Ararat region, our observer recorded multiple instances where the authorized agent for the Armenia Alliance, Sos Vanoyan, directed voters. Ghukasyan is also a deputy mayor of a village. As voters from his village came in, he directed them and ordered them around as they voted. Those present were left with the impression that the authorized agent was placed there to oversee the fulfillment of previous arrangements with voters regarding their choice. The PEC chair was informed of the violations, however the necessary response was not undertaken. The PEC chair only warned the authorized agent after receiving a phone call. Our observer was not able to ascertain who made the phone call.
  • At Polling Station 23/32 in the Lernanist community of Kotayk region, the local mayor, Artyom Hayrapetyan, came in and out of the polling station from time to time, spoke with different PEC members, including the PEC chair, and then approached our observer and urged him to “take a light approach to issues and not cause problems” and then asked for his address. Our observer asked the PEC chair to address the situation and record the incident in the official polling station register. This request was refused with the excuse that the PEC secretary was not currently present and would take care of it later. It was eventually recorded in the register but the mayor continued to come in and out. Around 4:20 pm, the mayor returned with a badge certifying him as an authorized agent for the Civil Contract Party.
  • At Polling Station 19/17, in the city of Gavar in Gegharkunik region, our observer took notice that the Armenia Alliance had more than the maximum number of authorized agents (2). Each time they were warned, they would leave the polling station, but the issue kept being repeated.
  • At Polling Station 6/26 in Yerevan, our observer that a woman tried to take out the unused ballot papers after voting, instead of disposing them in the wastepaper bin behind the voter screen. The PEC members also noticed and did not allow her to leave with the unused ballot papers. The incident was recorded in the official polling station register.

Impeding the work of our observers

  • At Polling Station 36/48, in the city of Jermuk in Vayots Dzor region, a PEC member impeded our observer from photographing the official polling station register, specifically the page outlining the rotation of duties among the PEC members throughout the day (which is the result of a lottery). The PEC chair was informed of the violation and eventually permitted the page to be photographed.
  • At Polling Station 19/17, in the city of Gavar in Gegharkunik region, during the counting of the holographic stamps, a cameraman for Yerevan.Today abrasively pulled our observers’ arm, saying that he was blocking his shot.

Violations of the voting procedure

  • At Polling Station 8/14, in Yerevan, voters were permitted to vote without signing the paper voter list. They had already left the polling station. Our observer requested the violation to be recorded in the official polling station register; however, the PEC chair refused, insisting that it should be taken up with the territorial electoral commission (TEC).

Other violations

  • At Polling Station 19/17, in the city of Gavar in Gegharkunik region, our observer noticed around 1:10 pm that a PEC member had failed to stamp approximately 300 voter receipts (which are printed by the Voter Authentication Device and then collected at the ballot box).

Some of the violations have been recorded in the official polling station registers; however, others were not, despite requests on the part of our observers.