By the end of Election Day, Transparency International – Bulgaria has received and processed a total of 239 reports for violations, submitted by official observers and citizens. Of these 55% are related to various organizational violations, 24 % related to controlled vote, 15 % related to illegitimate advertising, and 6% related to vote-buying.
Major deficits that emerged on Election Day were once again related to the insufficient level of preparedness of Precinct Electoral Commissions (PEC) members. This is further evident from the high proportion of organizational violations, including violations related to the handling of the paper ballots. An example is the mass occurrence of erroneous ballot stamping in advance and detachment of ballots from the bundle. This marks a difference from previous elections when most frequently observed organizational violations constituted problems in the handling of voter registry lists). The second deficiency in the PEC work comes as a result of the poor work of the Regional Electoral Commissions (REC) related to the registration of proxies, political party representatives and observers. Frequently throughout the day we received signals for illegitimate presence of larger than allowed number of party representatives. In practice, one of the issues pointed out by Transparency International – Bulgaria during the pre-elections turned out to be a real problem – it was not possible to effectively monitor and control the compliance with the requirement for only one proxy and one representative per political party allowed presence in the polling station (Kardzhali, Plovdiv, Smolyan, Dupnitsa, Blagoevgrad, Montana, Sliven, Sofia). Cases were reported regarding the presence of the mayor in a polling station, without any official registration (Valchidol, Varna region). These types of problems create doubts for attempts to control the citizens’ vote.
Among the rest of the violation reports received are the following:
– Transportation of voters to and from polling stations (Varna; Dobrich; Plovdiv; Pleven; Montana; Pliska, Shumen region; Slavyani, Lovech region; Varna);
– Switching of the polling booth pens (Montana);
– Voters accompanied by persons without disability certificates (Draganovo, Burgas region).
– Instructions who to vote for given to a voter by the mayor and the mayoral secretary (Kardzhali);
– Proxies accompanying voters to the PEC and giving instruction in the school-yard (Kyustendil);
– Unexplainably high voting turnout and effective voting for a short period of time (Pleven region);
– Attempt at ballot-switching by a voter (Dobrich),
– Breach of vote secrecy (Dobrich, Sofia);
– Photo snapshot of a ballot (Samokov);
– Ballot specimens with markings for the ‘correct’ party posted in front PEC (Blagoevgrad, Yambol)
– Mass presence of proxies of a single political party (Blagoevgrad);
– Illegitimate campaigning by the mayor in favor of a certain political party (Pamukchii, Shumen region, Rosalsko, Kardzhali region);
– Continuous presence of a Roma community leader controlling the voters in front a PEC (Shumen, Montana).
– Attempts at vote-buying were having highest intensity in the regions of Sliven, Pleven, Kyustendil, Blagoevgrad, Burgas. An untraditional and novel form of vote-buying was identified in Svishtov – handing out of invitations for a club after a ‘correct’ voting by the students.
Throughout the day continued problems with illegitimate campaigning on Election Day – from a telephone calls to voters (Lovech), to the presence of materials near polling stations (Stara Zagora), direct advertising with t-shirts of a certain party (Radovene, Vratsa region), campaigning with advertising vehicles and handing out with scratch-cards containing information as who to vote for (Ruse).
During the day numerous signals were submitted by citizens on the toll-free phone line regarding: continuous illegitimate political advertising on the internet, unqualified members of PEC (Pernik), inaccessible environment and lack of information for people with disabilities, mass occurrence of cases related to erroneous handling of paper ballots by members of PEC. Poor treatment of voters by staff in embassies abroad (Helsinki, Finland); mass controlled vote (Kotel and Telerik, Dobrich region); organized exchange of identity cards of the Roma citizens in Kamenar (Varna region) and vote-buying preparations.
Charts and violations statistical data are also available on diagrams.samizbiram.bg
TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL –BULGARIA