Students of the European Humanities University, together with other young activists from Belarus, observed the elections of local councils of deputies in Belarus as members of the Election Observation: Theory and Practice (EOTP) project. Violations of the procedure of mobile voting, attempts at artificial turnout inflation, coercion to vote, and the lack of transparent vote-counting in the majority of polling stations were among the major violations registered by the observers.
Also, on voting day, cases of psychological pressure on observers and the presence of unauthorized persons at polling stations were noted.
"The counting of votes remains one of the most problematic aspects of elections in Belarus. It cannot be considered transparent and open as most observers did not have access to the table where the votes were counted. Some polling stations demonstrated extreme speed in vote counting, with one case in which 449 ballots were counted in nine minutes," says Anastasiya Matchanka, EOTP project director and EHU alumna (BA International Law 2009).
Fifteen EHU students were among 100 EOTP observers this year. On election day, observers were present at more than 70 polling stations in Minsk and the regions.
EOTP is a joint project conducted by EHU, Belarus Watch, and the Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House.