CEC Implements Ballot Papers, Absentee Voting, and TV Debates
On February 27, the Central Election Commission met under the chairmanship of Nurlan Abdirov to consider the following questions:
1. On submission of voter lists to election commissions;
2. On ballot papers for voting;
3. On Absentee Voting Certificates. 4;
4. On organizing and conducting TV pre-election debates. 5;
5. On accreditation of observers of foreign countries and international organizations.
The meeting was attended by chairmen and members of territorial election commissions of regions, cities of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent, and heads of Akims' offices of these regions (on videoconference mode), representatives of political parties, mass media. Also deputy ministers of information and social development, digital development, innovation and aerospace industry, as well as the management of Khabar Agency JSC have been invited. Traditionally, the meeting was attended by a representative of the OSCE ODIHR Election Observation Mission.
The session has been broadcasted through the internet and YouTube with sign language interpretation.
While opening the meeting Nurlan Abdirov has informed, that in frames of current electoral campaign from February 21 to March 14 the members of CEC started to visit all the regions with the inspection visits and for the methodical and practical help to territorial election commissions.
For today they visited 6 regions - Northern Kazakhstan, Akmola, Almaty, Mangistau regions, Almaty city and Zhetysu region, where they familiarized with the course of preparation to the elections, measures taken by territorial election commissions, gave explanations on issues arising for participants of election process as well as analyzed practical cases.
Turning to the first issue on the agenda, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission noted that the organization of work with voter lists is one of the important areas in preparation for the elections.
According to the calendar plans of major activities for the preparation and conduct of the early elections of deputies to Mazhilis of Parliament and Maslikhats, approved by the election commissions, on 26 February, akimats submitted voter lists for each polling station to the relevant territorial election commissions.
Stressing the importance of this issue, Nurlan Abdirov said that the quality of the organization of elections on election day directly depends on the completeness and accuracy of the voter lists. That is why the formation of voter's lists is one of the most important organizational elements of electoral process.
Deputy Chairman of the Central Election Commission Konstantin Petrov made a report on this issue.
He informed that from the beginning of the campaign, citizens were widely informed about the procedure of inclusion in the voter lists through the national TV channels, radio stations and printed editions.
Every citizen had an opportunity to be registered as a voter at the corresponding local executive body from the moment of assigning the elections and not later than 30 days before the elections, i.e. by February 17.
The local executive bodies were instructed to provide information to citizens about the possibilities of inclusion in the voter lists and clarification of themselves in the voter lists, including through online services located on their Internet resources, and call centers.
Based on the written applications of citizens for inclusion in the voter lists at the place of residence, the local executive bodies included more than 48 thousand people.
In all regions of the Republic since the beginning of the election campaign 230 call-centers have been functioning and they have received over 17 thousand applications, including applications concerning inclusion in the voter lists. The work will continue until the voting day.
Konstantin Petrov also reported that 12 million 32 thousand 550 citizens were included in the lists of voters sent to the polling stations by local and executive authorities as of February 26.
Information about the voters in digitally protected form will be sent to the MDDIAI in order to inform citizens about their inclusion in the voter lists at a particular polling station via sms.
He also said that every citizen has the right to check the data concerning him/her in the lists of voters and appeal non-inclusion, incorrect inclusion or exclusion from the list as well as inaccuracies in the data concerning the voter. However, a citizen may be included only in one voter's list.
Fifteen days before polling day, starting from March 4, voter lists by polling stations will be presented to voters for familiarization. There will also be an opportunity in the premises of the electoral commissions to familiarize with the voter lists and to check the accuracy of the data entered in them.
In the course of the meeting, reports of local executive bodies on ongoing work on formation of voter lists were heard.
Nurlan Abdirov noted that the election commissions were working to create opportunities for people to clarify their status in the voter lists through various information resources. The Ministries of Information and Public Development, Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry were also involved in this work.
Vice-Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Aset Turysov informed that the service "Search for polling station via IIN" will be launched on March 6 at the unified platform of Internet resources of state bodies and eGov, as well as SMS-notification through mobile operators.
It is planned to launch relevant notifications in popular mobile banking applications.
Currently the issues of implementation of online services for checking information on the place of registration of citizens on the portal of e-government and registration of citizens are being worked out.
Nurlan Abdirov, passing to the second question of the meeting, noted that a great role in the documentary support of the electoral process is given to the ballot paper. The expression of will of every voter who voted through a ballot paper is given legal force because a ballot paper is one of the most important electoral documents, which entails the need for thorough legal regulation of all aspects related to approval of the form, text, and issue of ballot papers.
CEC member Sabila Mustafina made a report on this issue. She noted that the CEC within its authority establishes the form and text of the ballots, procedure for their production, security level, number of ballots and their delivery to the territorial election commissions.
Considering the peculiarities of the combined campaign for the elections of deputies to Mazhilis of Parliament and maslikhats of all levels, as well as the high competition in some constituencies, it was proposed to adopt separate CEC decisions on different types of ballot papers in this campaign.
The meeting approved the forms and requirements for 5 ballot forms for voting, including double-sided format, color and size of the ballot form:
1. for the elections of deputies to the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, elected by party lists: color-blue, format A5 (148x210 mm);
2. for the elections of deputies to Mazhilis of Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, elected by single-mandate territorial constituencies: color-green, format A5 (148x210 mm) - to 16 candidates, cut-out format (148x500 mm) - more than 16;
3. for the elections of deputies to maslikhats of regions, cities of national status and the capital, elected by party lists: color - magenta, format A5 (148x210 mm);
4. for the elections of deputies of maslikhats of regions, cities of republican value and capital, elected by single-mandate territorial electoral districts: color - orange, format А5 (148x210 mm) - to 16 candidates, cut-out format (148x500 mm) - more than 16;
5. for the elections of deputies of maslikhats of cities of oblast significance, districts, elected in single-mandate territorial constituencies: color - gray, format A5 (148x210 mm) - up to 16 candidates, cut-out format (148x500 mm) - more than 16.
Thus at each polling station that is located in 17 regions 5 kinds of ballots will be issued and in 3 megalopolises 4 ballots will be issued.
The Central Election Commission established that the number of ballot papers for the election of deputies to the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, elected according to party lists and single-mandate territorial constituencies, to be produced and delivered to the regions, including the reserve of one percent of the total number of voters in the Republic of Kazakhstan will be 12 152 876 pieces.
The number of ballot papers for the election of deputies to the maslikhats shall be established and their production and timely delivery to the polling stations shall be ensured by the corresponding election commissions of the regions.
The CEC Chairman stressed that the format of the ballot papers suggested allows placing the approved text of the ballot without compromising the quality of the image and readability. He also noted that the polling stations will be equipped with all the necessary facilities for visually impaired people, including additional lighting and magnifying glasses.
Summarizing the results of the discussion, Nurlan Abdirov charged the staff of the Central Election Commission and the territorial election commissions to take measures for the preparation of ballots and timely delivery of the ballots to polling stations.
Deputy Chairman of CEC Konstantin Petrov made a report on the third question.
He said that in accordance with the law on elections, if a voter changes his place of residence between the time when the voter lists are presented for public scrutiny and election day, the district election commission at the request of the voter and upon presentation of a document certifying his identity, issues an absentee certificate for the right to vote to the voter.
The issue of absentee certificates starts from March 4 and stops at 18.00 local time on the day preceding the day of voting, i.e. March 18.
Taking into account the peculiarities and combined election campaign for the elections of deputies to Mazhilis and maslikhats of the Republic of Kazakhstan, five types of absentee certificates for the right to vote were developed in accordance with the color of ballot papers for each type of election.
When presenting an absentee certificate for the right to vote, a precinct election commission shall include a voter in the voter list at the polling station at the place of his residence on the day of voting.
However, the absentee certificate for the right to vote is not issued to voters wishing to vote in another constituency or in another polling station within the same locality.
Turning to the fourth item on the agenda the Chairman of the Central Election Commission said that in accordance with the norms of the Constitutional Law on Elections, political parties that have nominated party lists of candidates for the Mazhilis of the Parliament have the right to participate in pre-election debates. The procedure and conditions are defined by the Central Electoral Commission.
The member of CEC Anastasia Schegortsova has made a report on organization and conduction of TV pre-election debates.
She said that in order to organize debates, the Central Electoral Commission consulted with the Ministry of Information and Public Development to determine the appropriate TV channel. Important factors were the functional and technical capacity of the TV channel, as well as the maximum coverage of the audience.
The Ministry of Information and Public Development proposed to hold TV pre-election debates on the air of the state nationwide Khabar TV channel. The channel broadcasts on the whole territory of the country in a wide range of TV broadcasting.
March 16 has been set as the date for the TV pre-election debates.
The final question on accreditation for participation in the elections of deputies to Mazhilis of Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan from foreign countries and international organizations was answered by Secretary of CEC Mukhtar Erman.
He informed that as of today 111 observers from 11 foreign countries and 3 international organizations have been accredited.
Today there are 52 observers from 2 foreign countries and 3 international organizations nominated for accreditation: 3 candidates from India, 2 candidates from Moldova, 17 candidates from CIS Observer Mission, 28 candidates from Inter-parliamentary Assembly of CIS Member States and 2 candidates from Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
After the session a traditional briefing was held for the media, during which the CEC members answered journalists' questions.