CEC publishes referendum guidelines

The CEC believes that curtains somehow help spread coronavirus. There was no mention of the presence or absence of masks or vaccination: the curtains are the only antiviral measure.

Sample photo. Polling station. Minsk, Belarus. August 6, 2021. Photo: Belsat

The Central Election Commission of Belarus has published territorial and precinct election commissions guidelines. The telegram channel “Belarus of the brain” has highlighted several points.

“To prevent the risks of coronavirus infection spreading further,” it was decided to remove curtains from voting booths. This was already done for the 2020 presidential election, but the curtains were not necessarily removed altogether but sometimes pushed back so observers could see the voter.

This could be due to calls by the Golos initiative to photograph ballots and send photos to verify the official results. Last time, the analysis showed that Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya had won in the first round.

However, the manual for the control of “correct” voting contains a suggestion with mutually exclusive parts: on the one hand, the voting place must be equipped to prevent the possibility of controlling the expression of the will, but on the other, all the observers must be given a place where they can see the voting procedure. The CEC does not explain how to combine this with a narrow booth and several observers at once.

The polling stations will be guarded not only by the police. Authorities may also involve “volunteer brigades” and “youth law and order protection brigades” under the BNYU.