As opposed to previous election cycles, for the 2022 General Election, new regulations were introduced that sought to ensure the secrecy of voting, which primarily refers to the setting up of voting booths at polling stations and procedures to determine the identity of voters.
In order to prevent abuses by voters during the process of voting, such as changing ballots, taking photos, family voting etc., the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina has prescribed that the voting booths should be placed in such a position so that their enter is facing the members of the polling station committees and observers. According to the findings of the Coalition “Pod lupom”, voting booths were set up appropriately at all observed polling stations.
Also one of the novelties is that when determining the identity of the voters, the name and surname of voters signing into the Extract from the Central Voter’s List is not pronounced aloud (ODIHR also recommended this). However, according to the findings of the Coalition “Pod lupom”, at every fifth polling station, up to 10 cases were recorded when the voter’s name and surname were read aloud during the process of identification. More than 10 cases of this irregularity were recorded at 31 polling stations. This procedure has been changed, and from now on the name and surname of voters should not be read aloud.
In its Final Report of the Election Observation Mission, ODIHR states that the authorities should take effective measures so to protect voters’ right when it comes to free and secret elections. During the training of local election commissions as well as in materials for voter education, the importance of voting secrecy, protection of voter identity and provision of voting in a free atmosphere should be emphasized. It was also reported that the layout of the polling station should be reviewed and overcrowding should be addressed to ensure the secrecy of the vote and protection from undue influence on voters.