Merry-go-round voting disclosed in Minsk
16:08, — Politics
The same people voted at different polling stations several times.
About 3% of registered voters are officially reported to have voted on the first day of early voting.
Observers think this was reached due to enforced early voting and other electoral fraud methods. Observers at Minsk constituency No. 101 say they exposed the so called carousel or merry-go-round voting, Radio Svaboda reports.
Alyaksandr Marchanka, an observer at polling station No. 367 of Minsk's 101st constituency, noticed an increased activity of voters on the evening of the first day of early voting:
“A crowd of women of about 30 appeared. It looked like students rushing to the cloakroom when classes were suddenly cancelled. They arrived on the bus. There about 100 people.”
Marchanka said the group supervisor made some marks in passports. The observer asked to show him the passports, but women refused to show their residence stamps and left the building.
An observer at the neighbouring polling station, Dzmitry Pradko, followed them in the street and watched the group marching to the next polling station. Dzmitry is sure:
“We don't know how it was organized, but we saw the crowd of voters at the same time. It definitely was the merry-go-round voting. They played their roles badly. They pretended it was a meeting of a cooperative society, started to discuss some financial issues and required me to go away.”
Observers turned attention of chairs of election commissions to strange groups of voters, Dzmitry Pradko says:
“The commissions know we recorded the merry-go-round voting. They must be afraid now, at least at our polling stations. But it may repeat at other stations. We'd like to warn people.”
Aleh Hulak, a leader of the campaign “Human Rights Activists for Free Elections”, says the merry-go-round voting, when groups of people are bussed from one polling station to another, has until recently been more common in Russia and Ukraine, where the vote counting procedure is rather honest and the authorities have to look for other electoral fraud methods.
“It was not actively used in Belarus. But one cannot rule out the possibility of introducing this method in certain constituencies, especially when lists of voters are a total mess and the authorities need a high turnout.”
Representative of For Freedom movement Yury Melyashkevich, who organizes observation in Minsk's 101st constituency says similar activity was noticed at different polling stations:
“Unfortunately, we cannot yet check if ballots were cast by the same people. We have no technical means to record this and photographing is forbidden at polling stations. We already had conflicts with commission chairs over the issue. But we saw these organized groups.”
Write your comment (97)