Corner Press release

Open Office: Voting Rights Violations – Local Referendum on the GTC, Center Municipality 26 April 2015

The Helsinki Committee of the Republic of Macedonia monitors the carrying out of the local referendum in Center Municipality, on the occasion of the citizens' vote for preserving the outward appearance of the City Trade Center. In the period from 7:00 AM to 1:30 PM, the external observers of the Committee reported the following irregularities:  

The Committee's observers at the polling stations Dom na Gradezhni Rabotnici and the primary schools “Kole Nedelkovski”, “11 Oktomvri”, “J. H. Pestaloci” received complaints of citizens who claimed that the members of the electoral boards were unable to find them in the electoral register, and were therefore sent to other locations, although the citizens were convinced that they came to the right polling station. According to the allegations, they believe that this was a way to demotivate the voters, so that they would give up on voting.

At the polling station no. 2865, Pionerski Dom Karposh, two persons in civilian clothes were spotted, who first entered the polling station, and afterwards remained sitting in the yard. After the reaction of the accredited observers and the Committee's observers, it became clear that they were police officers in civilian clothes. Although the police officers refused to disclose their identities, they nevertheless donned the obligatory fluorescent vets. Police officers in civilian clothes were also noticed at the primary school “Kole Nedelkovski”. 

At the polling stations no. 2843 and 2843/1, primary school “11 Oktomvri”, a member of the electoral board by mistake tore off four ballots together with the part which should not have been torn off. The incident was recorded, and the ballots will be considered as valid. 

At the polling station in the primary school “Kole Nedelkovski”, a member of the electoral committee noticed five persons with identity cards in which identical place of residence was listed, i.e. Gjuro Gjakovic St. no. 52. The member of the electoral committee stated that he resides in the vicinity of that address, and that he was sure that the residential building in question is still in an early phase of construction. This arises suspicion of possible counterfeit identity cards. After they had visited the location, the observers confirmed that the object is indeed still in an early phase of construction. The member of the electoral committee stated that he will ask the president of the committee to record the incident. 

The Committee concludes that the voting process mostly takes place without hindrances and in a democratic atmosphere, with small number of reported allegations of irregularity. 

We remind the citizens that during the entire voting day, i.e. from 7 AM to 7 PM, they can report allegations of irregularities and obstruction of the voting right to the Committee's observers who are on the field, or they can do the same in the following way: 

To report violations of voting right through the hotline numbers (0)2 3119 073 and 078 252 812.

To submit notice in the Committee's premises, located on Naum Naumovski Borche St. no. 83, Skopje. The map can be found here: http://mhc.org.mk/pages/contact 

Besides the personal and telephone reporting, also available is the opportunity to report irregularities through e-mail, at the following address: helkom@mhc.org.mk. The e-mail submissions should contain short description of the violation, location (polling station number), and time of occurrence of the violation. The citizens may submit their notices by disclosing their personal data or anonymously. All reports submitted to the Committee will be further investigated, in order to verify their credibility. Secrecy and inviolability of personal data is guaranteed by the Committee, and it will not be revealed without prior permission of the citizens who reported the violation.  

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