MINSK, 9 August (BelTA) – Surveys foisted upon voters through Telegram channels are a hoax, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus Lidia Yermoshina told the Belarus 1 TV channel on 9 August, BelTA has learned.
“The exit poll is held only on election day, that is today, it is an established practice. Therefore, everything that is foisted on voters in disguise of surveys is nothing but a hoax. It was done and launched by certain political forces through Telegram channels. Observers tried to conduct polls at polling stations; it was during the early voting period. However, voters refused and complained to us about it. All polls conducted by observers are illegal, even more so when such polls are done before a voter enters a polling place. Today's exit poll is probably not bad, at least it will allow finding out what choices voters made before the vote counting process is over,” Lidia Yermoshina said.
Some polling stations report queues. “I feel awkward that voters have to queue. Heat is not the best time for that. In addition, a pass control had to be introduced (the number of voters entering a polling place should be the same as the number of election commission members). I ask voters to bear with it. People should have followed the advice of the CEC chairperson. I asked them to take advantage of the early voting opportunity. The CEC chairperson does not give bad advice,” Lidia Yermoshina said.
Judging from preliminary results, the most active voters were from Gomel Oblast, Mogilev Oblast and Vitebsk Oblast. According to Lidia Yermoshina, this is due to the efforts of local authorities to encourage early voting. “For example, the community center of Rechitsa District, Gomel Oblast, announced that those who cast an early ballot would be offered one hour of trampoline jumping free of charge. Maybe, it worked. There is nothing extraordinary about it, no vote buying. Vote buying occurs when votes are bought in favor of a certain candidate. In this case it is just an attempt to bring voters to polling places. By the way, the capital city has always been reluctant to go to the polls. Some people wake up late, some are in the countryside,” Lidia Yermoshina said.
As far as observers' complaints are concerned, she informed that four appeals were registered in Grodno Oblast, of which two have nothing to do with the election. Gomel Oblast reported 16 complaints; some of them became a matter of conflict between observers and election commissions. “Sometimes, conflicts are premeditated: they are holding two phones, one is recording audio, the other video, and are reading out their complaints following an instruction. Such work was ordered and paid. I mean alternative observers who seek to discredit the election. I want to emphasize that audio and video recording can be done only upon the consent of the person who is recorded. If a chairman of an election commission does not want it, an observer will be stripped of accreditation. Maybe, this is their ultimate goal. Naturally, election commissions can make a mistake. I cannot say that they are always right; we are all human,” Lidia Yermoshina said.
By the way, the voting is already over at some polling stations. These are polling places arranged in hospitals. “We are looking forward to receiving information from the polling stations that have already closed. Some have called to say that they have already counted votes and are ready to provide information. Voting in hospitals is the most reliable one, as there is no early voting opportunity there, everything is done fast and within one day; votes are counted in the presence of observers. Hospital patients are people from all walks of life: there are no right-wing, left-wing voters or moderates there,” she concluded.