Election observers in the City of Doboj were allowed unhindered access to all polling stations and were able to adequately control the process, which was not the case in the regular elections that were subsequently annulled. The elections in Srebrenica took place in a calm atmosphere but shadowed by a boycott on the part of some political parties and voters. Electoral irregularities registered on the Election day mostly occurred in Doboj.
Serious violations of the electoral process were registered at some polling stations. The reports of such violations refer to intimidations and pressure on voters at three polling stations in Doboj and one polling station in Srebrenica, the abuse of assisted voting at four polling stations in Doboj and suspicion of vote buying in the vicinity of one polling station in Doboj.
The most frequent irregularities refer to “family voting” at every other observed polling station, turning voters away because they were not on the excerpt of the Central Voter’s Register for a polling station at one third of the observed polling stations, failure to display a list of members of the polling station committees including the name of a represented political subject at every fifth polling station, even though this has been required since 2018 and is one of the Pod lupom’s recommendations that has been implemented by the Central Election Commission of BiH (CEC BiH) .
The repeat elections reaffirm the importance of non-partisan, civic election observers that contribute to transparency and adequate independent control of the electoral process. The reasons for repeating the elections are another argument speaking in favor of a need to urgently improve the electoral rules to prevent manipulations of the electoral will of the citizens. This is the only way to restore the shaken confidence of BiH citizens in the electoral process.
PRELIMINARY MAYORAL RESULTS IN DOBOJ AND SREBRENICA
The preliminary data on the mayoral election results for Doboj and Srebrenica at the observed polling stations indicated the following:
- BORIS JERINIĆ (SNSD) 65.2% of votes (MoE 3.56),
- CVIJAN FILIPOVIĆ (SDS) 18.3% of votes (MoE 2.10) and
- SRĐAN TODOROVIĆ (SP) 16.5% of votes (MoE 1.99).
- MLADEN GRUJIČIĆ (TOGETHER FOR SREBRENICA) 96.7% of votes (MoE 2.49),
- ALIJA TABAKOVIĆ (SDA) 2.6% of votes (MoE 2.39),
- MILE JANJIĆ (INDEPENDENT) 0.4% of votes (MoE 0.35) and
- ALEKSANDAR SIMIĆ (INDEPENDENT) 0.3% of votes (MoE 0.25).
*The results do not count the by mail votes, votes on tendered ballots and votes from the absentee polling stations or the results from the polling stations where the elections had not been annulled.
The Pod lupom Coalition observed voter turnout. The voter turnout registered as at 7 p.m. in the repeat elections in Srebrenica is at 50.9% (with a margin of statistical error of +/- 5, 61 % on .95 confidence interval) and at 54.7% in Doboj (with a margin of statistical error of +/- 2,.17 % on .95 confidence interval). The preliminary data from a sample of the observed polling stations and the margin of the statistical error indicate that voter turnout in Srebrenica and Doboj in the repeat elections is 14% lower than in the regular local elections held on November 15, 2020.
*The voter turnout data only contains information from the repeat elections in Doboj and Srebrenica.
ESTABLISHING OF RESULTS OF THE REPEAT ELECTIONS IN DOBOJ AND SREBRENICA
The Pod lupom Coalition monitored the establishment of the election results in Doboj and Srebrenica. The process of establishing the election results at the polling stations was in line with the law and regulations. Discrepancies in the accuracy tests were registered at three polling stations; the irregularities in determining the results were registered at one polling station while objection to the vote counting process was also registered at one polling station. At six polling stations, ink pens were on the vote counting tables upon opening a ballot box.
Problems with the packing of the polling material were observed at one polling station. The case of unauthorized persons entering the poll after it closed was registered at five polling stations. The Stock Form and the Form for aggregate results were note signed by all members of the polling station committees at two polling stations. At every fifth observed polling station, the yellow copy of the aggregate results form was either not displayed or it was displayed but it was illegible.
CLOSING OF THE POLLS
The closing of the polls was conducted in line with the electoral regulations. Almost all polling stations were closed by 7:15 p.m. except three polling stations in Doboj that closed after 7:15 p.m. At all polling stations that did not close on time, voters that were outside the polling stations at 7 p.m. were allowed to vote. All members of the polling station committees were present at the poll-closing time at all polling stations. After the polls were closed, the Coalition’s observers carried out unhindered observation of the vote counting process.
The Coalition’s observers monitored the voting process and recorded open inducement of voters to vote for a political subject or intimidations and pressure on voters at three polling stations in Doboj (038B027, 038B029 and 038B035A) and at one polling station in Srebrenica (105B015).
Voting without valid identification documents was registered at eight polling stations, whereof five in Doboj and three in Srebrenica.
Voters were turned away from one third of the polling station because they were not on the excerpt from the final Central Voters’ Register (up to 10 such cases).
The Coalition’s observers reported the cases of family voting at more than a half of the polling stations, both in Doboj and Srebrenica (up to 10 cases of this type of irregularity). The case of one person assisting multiple voters to vote in a voting booth was registered at 22 polling stations, whereof 19 in Doboj.
Unauthorized persons (such as representatives of local election commissions, police, representatives of political subjects and/or representatives of local government) did not stay long at the polling stations nor did they disrupt the voting process. The “Bulgarian train” (where a voter comes to the poll with pre-filled ballots and leaves with blank ballots) was not registered at any of the observed polling stations.
The recommended measures for preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus were not followed at three polling stations in Doboj.
The Coalition “Pod lupom“ was notified of seven situations that potentially represented serious electoral irregularities. Most of them relate to persons representing political parties assisting the voters that according to the Election Law of BiH evidently did not need the voting assistance. This irregularity was recorded at the following polling stations in Doboj: 038B027, 038B029, 038B068 and 038B079. The Coalition also received a report on an alleged vote buying in the vicinity of the polling station 038B029, as well as other irregularities near the same polling station such as inducement of voters and distribution of flyers with instructions for whom to vote. The competent police department that had been notified of the alleged vote buying issued a notice saying that the report contained no elements of a criminal offense.
Objections or complaints during the voting process were registered at 15 polling stations in Doboj and one polling station in Srebrenica.
OPENING AND ARRANGEMENT OF THE POLLING STATIONS
The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections “Pod Lupom” deployed one hundred civic, non-partisan election-day observers that observed the election-day process at almost all polling stations in Doboj and all polling stations in Srebrenica including the City Election Commission of the City of Doboj and Municipal Election Commission of Srebrenica.
Unlike in the 2020 Local elections held on November 15 when the Coalition’s observers were not allowed to access the majority of the polls in Doboj, which was the violation of BiH Election law and one of the reasons why the Central Election Commission annulled the elections in Doboj, all Coalition’s observers are in these repeat elections in Doboj and Srebrenica allowed unhindered access to all polling stations to which they have been deployed.
The Pod lupom observers reported that at four polling stations in Srebrenica and one polling station in Doboj members of the polling station committee failed to fulfill the obligation requiring all polling station committee members to be present at a polling station at 6 a.m.
Six polling stations in Doboj were not arranged according to the Central Election Commission’s Instruction on Operations of the Election Management Bodies on the Election day in the Context of the Covid-19 Epidemic.
The list of members of the polling station committees indicating the name of a represented political subject was not displayed at every fifth polling station. Pod lupom underlines that it is necessary to display the lists of members of the polling stations with the name of a political subject rather than the code of a political subject, in order to contribute to transparency of the electoral process and prevent trading of seats on the polling station committees.
Secrecy of the vote was ensured at all polling stations in Doboj and Srebrenica, i.e., the voting booths were arranged in a way to protect the secrecy of the vote. Ballot box was shown empty at all polling stations before the polls opened. Hand-counting of the ballot papers before opening of the poll was not performed at one polling station in Doboj.
The percentage of the polling stations that opened exactly at 7 a.m. is 89%, while the majority of the remaining polling stations opened with a slight delay of up to 15 minutes. Three polling stations opened with a delay longer than 15 minutes.
THANK YOU NOTE
The Coalition “Pod Lupom” would like to extend a sincere thank you to our citizens, non-partisan observers, for observing the repat elections in Doboj and Srebrenica and for their contribution to protecting the votes of the citizens. We also thank the media outlets for covering the independent elections observation missions, their timely and professional reporting on the observation findings. We extend our thank you to the election administration authorities for their correct cooperation. We also thank all other actors in the electoral process, especially to the citizens voters for their support and trust.
The Pod Lupom Coalition worked together with 85 civil society organizations to organize observation of the electoral process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Coalition’s efforts in the repeat elections in Doboj and Srebrenica were joined by NGOs “Topeer” from Doboj and “Sara-Srebrenica” from Srebrenica that worked to engage and select non-partisan observers. The Coalition Pod lupom would like to thank them for their contribution in ensuring free and fair elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.