Electoral boards behaving oddly towards the stringent rules

At the polling day, the observers registered blatant violations of the Electoral Code by the electoral boards, ranging from violation of both the voters' privacy and the secret ballot, to reading out loud the single identification numbers and other personal data of the citizens. Astonishing information obtained from a polling station in a village near Skopje is speaking about electoral board members who collectively take part in electoral irregularity. One of the members of the electoral board has given two ballot papers to a citizen, and after the vote had been cast, no one of the remaining members had objected about what happened.

In several cases, the electoral board has been incomplete because some of the members have occasionally left the polling station for certain time periods. Other boards showed unfair and inappropriate behavior towards the external observers, treating them as unwelcome intruders of the polling stations, preventing their access and obstructing their work, as well as addressing improper remarks to them. Moreover, the members of the electoral boards have not been well informed about the procedures and demonstrated lack of basic knowledge about the work of the State Electoral Commission (SEC) regarding the accreditation of the observers and their identification on the field.

At the end of last month, just before the start of the presidential elections, the State Electoral Commission prepared educational video manual, in addition to the manuals that had already been distributed to the members of the electoral boards.

"The fundamental characteristic of every democratic society is holding free and fair elections. Only the elections that have credibility and adhere to the principles of democracy and good governance, will contribute for democratic development of the society. By providing equal conditions for all participants in the elections and guaranteeing the general - free, equal and secret ballot right for each voter, the electoral boards are laying the foundation of democracy and contribute for strengthened trust in the voting system of the Republic of Macedonia.

You, as members of the electoral board, and your work, carry part of the burden, responsibility, as well as the credit for holding successful elections. The expectations from you on the polling day are high. The assessment and validity of the electoral process depend on your work. That is why it is essential that you carry out all prescribed procedures, in the same way as they are set out in the Electoral Code and the guidelines of the State Electoral Commission."

This is the description in the beginning of the educational video manual prepared by SEC. One can only wonder to what extent has this video had impact on the members of the electoral boards, who stand in the front rows of the polling stations and in the same time share the biggest responsibility for the regularity of the presidential elections held on April 13.

We have showed you only part of the irregularities that are directly related to the work of the electoral boards "You are obliged to carry out your duties in the electoral board, independent from external influences, responsibly and in good faith" says the video presentation that is around 40 minutes long, and you can see it attached hereto.

Petar Stojkovikj

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