Election Observers: Polling Stations Were Underprepared

laine uudised-laine
26. Mar 2011


According to the final report by Transparency International Estonia, the parliamentary elections of March 6th were conducted transparently and democratically in general, but the report also noted a few problems.

"In some polling stations you could feel an air of anxiety and general lack of competence on the part of the committee members. This raised the question, whether minor differences in the procedure of counting votes were due to a lack of adequate training or a deliberate desire to do things differently," reported Kalle Uusmaa, a project manager at Transparency International Estonia.

4783 ballots were declared null and void. Most of those ballots were mismarked deliberately, as declarations of contempt towards the electoral system or due to a lack of appealing candidates; others were simply accidentally mismarked. For instance, in some polling stations national candidate lists were placed at the entrance to the voting booths, leaving an impression that the voter could vote for any candidate running for parliament. In reality, of course, voters could only vote for candidates in their constituency.

Transparency International Estonia hopes that lessons learnt from these elections will mean more voter education and better qualified polling committees in the run up to local elections, held in 2013.