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New Voting Technologies in Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections

(April 2, 2024)


Georgia is scheduled to hold much-anticipated parliamentary elections on October 26, 2024. This time around 90 percent of Georgian citizens will vote in polling stations using electronic means: special voter verification equipment will be used to check voter identity; voters will fill in paper ballots and feed the ballot into optical ballot scanners. At the end of election day, the scanners will produce preliminary election results. Poll workers will then manually count all the ballots and only the results of the manual count will be reflected in the final results summary protocol. The relevant legal framework for the use of electronic means was adopted as a part of a comprehensive electoral reform in December 2022. The CEC decree further details the procedures for voting with the use of electronic means. The election administration has already procured necessary equipment, supplies, software, and consultancy services from Smartmatic – a Netherlands-based company – for a total of approximately 25 million Euros.

Additionally, a large-scale public information campaign is underway. The CEC has conducted eight pilot projects with the use of different voting technologies in different types of elections across multiple electoral districts over the last six years. Domestic observers have in general positively assessed the pilots, but identified challenges related to the violation of the secrecy of the vote, malfunctioning of the equipment, and confusion among voters. As such, the October 26 parliamentary elections will serve as the first country-wide stress test of the use of new electronic voting technologies. It is paramount that the CEC provides adequate training to election administration and conducts an effective public information campaign to educate the voters, but also to cultivate the public trust in the system – amidst fears of tampering with the secrecy of the vote and the possibility of manipulation of results.

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