Following the 2016 parliamentary elections, a number of politicians questioned the results based on logical inconsistencies on election protocols. Some of the election protocols, which summarize election results for individual voting stations, reported that more voters had come to the polls than actually cast ballots while others reported that more votes had been cast than voters came to the polling station. While both did happen, the Central Election Commission has made dramatic improvements compared to Georgia’s 2012 parliamentary elections.
In the 2012 parliamentary elections, according to an analysis of data the Central Election Commission provided, in the proportional list elections alone there were over 30,000 more voters that came to the polls than cast ballots. In 2016, there were less than 3000 such voters – a clear improvement.
Not only were there more voters than votes in many precincts – there were more votes cast than voters that came to the polls, again according to the official record. In the 2012 parliamentary elections, there were 696 more votes than signatures for those votes. By comparison, in 2016 there were 76 – again a clear improvement.
A third logical inconsistency present in the data is declining turnout. In the 2012 elections, in 8 precincts, there were more votes at 12PM than at 5PM. That is to say that the precincts recorded declining turnout. In 2016, by contrast, only one precinct reported declining turnout, again, a clear improvement.
While the CEC has clearly improved its recording of the vote in 2016, and small mismatches are bound to happen, any voter may reasonably ask themselves – if the CEC cannot make election protocols add up, how do I know my vote counted? Thus, we strongly recommend that the CEC make efforts to minimize the number of logical inconsistencies in future elections. Some recommendations on how the CEC might do so are available in our report on the 2016 elections.
Note: The DEFDA project is funded by the Embassy of the United States of America in Georgia, however, none of the views expressed in the above blog post represent the views of the US Embassy in Georgia or any related US Government entity.