The Coalition’s preliminary assessment of the Election Day in the early elections for City Mayor of Prijedor is that in the majority of the polling stations the Election Day was conducted in accordance with the Election Law of BiH and implementing acts, with documented irregularities where some of them represent serious violations of the election rules.
Particularly concerning is a report two citizens made about pressures on voters to vote for one candidate coming from the phone number registered to the Republika Srpska Fund for Pension/Invalid Insurance, the Prijedor office. This case was reported to the Prijedor Police Department. The Coalition’s observers lodged three complaints in the log on the work of the polling station committee referring to incorrect voter identification (009B007), voting on behalf of another person on several occasions (009B035), and one voter inserting two ballot papers in the ballot box (009B063).
The characteristic of Election Day was a significant number of the so-called “phantom” candidates who did not participate in the election to win votes, and suspicion is that they were used for the purpose of trading seats on the polling station committees. Ten out of fourteen candidates won less than 0.20% of the votes individually, which substantiates this claim.
All this calls for urgent improvements in the election process that Pod Lupom has been advocating for over the years. Many of the irregularities documented on Election Day would not have occurred had there been reforms in the election of members of the polling station committees or the work of the polling station committees, the use of new technologies for voter identification and processing election results.
Receipt of the polling material by the City of Prijedor Election Commission
The receipt of sensitive polling material (a bag containing ballot papers and forms) by the Election Commission of the City of Prijedor at the Sports Hall in Prijedor went without any serious hustle and was in compliance with the election regulations. The sensitive polling material was usually submitted by members of the polling station committees and the handover wait time was around 15 minutes on average.
The most common problem during the handover of the polling material was incorrect packing of the polling material by the polling station committees where on several occasions the bags had to be opened to correct the errors with the presence of the City Election Commission. Operators entering the election results in the CEC’s system were adequately trained and present at the same location where the material was received. There was no recount of the votes from the polling stations. The measures preventing the spread of the Covid-19 were not followed.
Counting ballots and packing polling materials
Determining the number of invalid ballots for the City Mayor of Prijedor was not done in compliance with the CEC’s regulation in one polling station (009B079-B). Some iirregularities in the packing of the polling material were registered at the polling station 009B052-A. At three polling stations (009B007, 009B040, 009B083) the Form for aggregate results and Stock form were not signed by all members of the polling station committee. Entering a polling station after it closed was allowed at eight polling stations. The yellow copy of the Form for aggregate results was not displayed in four polling stations (009B070, 009B082, 009B096, 009B105), while the copy was displayed in 29.2% of the polling stations, but it was illegible.
Pod lupom monitors the information on voter turnout. The recorded turnout until 7 p.m. in the early elections in Prijedor was at 30.7 % (with a margin of error of +/- 4.17% on a 99% confidence interval.
The Preliminary Results of the Elections
The preliminary data on the results of the voting for City Mayor of Prijedor in the observed polling stations shows the following:
- MLADEN UNIJAT (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE 1.65% (0.64% MoE)
- DANIJEL SIMATOVIĆ (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE) 0.09% (0.07% MoE)
- SLOBODAN JAVOR (SNSD) 53.33% (3.19% MoE)
- ZORAN GRBIĆ (OTADŽBINSKA STRANKA – HOMELAND PARTY) 0.14% (0.07% MoE)
- DANIJELA ĐURIĆ (LIJEVO KRILO- LEFT WING) 0.13% (0.07% MoE)
- MARKO KAURIN (KRUG- CIRCLE) 0.04% (0.04% MoE)
- VJEKOSLAV KRNETA (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE) 0.06% (0.05% MoE)
- SLAĐANA RADAKOVIĆ (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE) 3.06% % (0.57% MoE)
- ZLATKO JOSIĆ (DEMOCRATIC CENTER OF REPUBLIKA SRPSKA) 0.11% (0.09% MoE)
- SAŠA STUPAR (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE) 0.18% (0.08% MoE)
- GORAN PREDOJEVIĆ (FOR OUR PRIJEDOR – DNS, SDS, PDP) 40.93% (3.00% MoE)
- MILOŠ JANJETOVIĆ (RE-BALANS- RE-BALANCE) 0.04% (0.04% MoE)
- LIDIJA RADIĆ (SNS FBIH – SAMO NAJBOLJI IDU NAPRIJED-ONLY THE BEST MOVE FORWARD) 0.14% (0.07% MoE)
- ILIJA MAMIĆ (RADNIČKA PARTIJA – WORKERS’ PARTY) 0.09% (0.08% MoE)
Closing of the polling stations
The polling stations closed in compliance with the rules. All polling stations closed by 7.15. p.m. All voters who were in line to cast their votes at 7 p.m. were allowed to vote. The obligation that all members of the polling station committees should be present at the time of the poll close was not fulfilled at three polling stations (009B069, 009B083, 009B084).
The irregularities in the voting process observed by the Coalition’s observers include a voter casting multiple ballot papers in a voting box at the polling station 009B063, a person being allowed to vote on behalf of several persons at the polling station 009B035, and one person casting their vote multiple times at the polling station 009B007.
In 50.4% of the polling stations, the observers registered up to ten cases of family voting. In addition, at 63.5% of the polling stations, there were cases of voters being turned away from a polling station because they were not on the excerpt of the Central Voter’s Register (up to ten cases of this type of irregularity).
There was an open inducement of voters to vote for a certain political subject at the polling stations 009B062 and 009B028. Almost every fourth polling station (24.3%) registered at least one case where one person assisted several voters with casting their vote in a voting booth.
Up to ten cases of voting without prescribed identification were registered at 9.6% of the polling stations.
The measures preventing the spread of Covid-19 were not applied at 10.4% of the polling stations.
The long presence of unauthorized persons in a polling station disturbing the voting process was registered at three polling stations: 009B007, 009B062, and 009B067.
At eight polling stations, written complaints or objections were filed by the observers of the election process.
Violation of the election silence was registered in the center of Prijedor and it refers to the use of an interactive billboard. The Coalition has prepared a complaint to be filed with the Central Election Commission of BiH, the first instance body responsible for this case. Political subjects had the possibility to pay for their promotion until the day of the start of the election silence i.e. 24 hours before polling, and this is something that they failed to do.
Opening and the set-up of the polling stations
On Election Day, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections Pod Lupom engaged 116 civic, non-partisan observers to monitor the entire election process in almost all polling stations and the City of Prijedor Election Commission. All Coalition’s observers were allowed access to all polling stations to which they were assigned.
The Coalition’s observers registered that the obligation of members of the polling station committee to be present at a polling station at 6 a.m. was not fulfilled at 15.7% of the polling stations in Prijedor.
The polling station 009B100 had 39 fewer ballot papers than registered voters, which is contrary to the rules. At two polling stations (009B002-A and 009B038), manual counting of ballot papers was not performed before opening the polling stations.
A list of members of the polling station committee was not displayed in almost half of the polling stations (40.9%) in Prijedor, whereas, in the remaining polling stations it was not possible to see which political subjects were represented by the members of the polling station committees. Pod Lupom emphasizes that it is necessary to display the name of political subjects next to the members of polling station committees to contribute to the transparency of the election process and prevent trading seats on polling station committees.
Four polling stations (009B26, 009B29, 009B83, 009B84) in Prijedor were not set up according to the BiH Central Election Commission’s Instruction on Procedure of Conducting Elections on Election Day During the Covid-19 epidemic.
The secrecy of the vote was ensured at all polling stations in Prijedor, that is, the voting booths were set up in a way so that no one could see how a voter voted. At all polling stations, the ballot box was shown empty before the opening of the poll.
Most polling stations opened at exactly 7 a.m., while five polling stations opened with a slight delay of up to 15 minutes.
The Coalition received two reports about the violation of the election silence on social media; however, because of the emergence of accounts on social media that cannot be linked to political subjects, these irregularities are not treated by the Election Law of BiH. In the case of determining ownership of the page on social media, Pod Lupom will process these reports and forward them to the Central Election Commission of BiH.
Particularly concerning is the case where two citizens reported that pressures on voters to vote for one candidate came from the phone number registered to the Republika Srpska Fund for Pension/Invalid Insurance, the Prijedor office. The case was reported to the Prijedor Police Department.
The Coalition received a report that at the Mir Volleyball Club there were bags containing filled-out ballots for one of the candidates running in the elections, alleging that there was the intention to replace these bags for bags from the polling station. The Coalition’s observer in the Sport’s Hall Mladost, where the Volley Club has its offices according to the available information, inspected the location and did not find any proof to substantiate the mentioned reports.
The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections “Pod Lupom“ extends its most sincere thank you to non-partisan civic observers who are the backbone of the monitoring mission in the early elections for City Mayor of Prijedor.
We also thank the media for covering the independent election observation mission and most of the actors of the election process, especially citizens, voters for their support and trust.