Over 22% cast ballots over three early voting days, election officials claim

Photo: Tanya Kapitonava / Belsat.eu

On Friday morning, Belarus’ Central Election Commission (CEC) has published the official turnout data for the first three days of early voting.

According to the commission, 22.47% of electors have already cast their votes (in Homiel region – 30.22%, in Mahiliou region – 26.14%. 18.89% reportedly voted early in the city of Minsk, 20.45% – in Brest region, 21.18% – in Vitsebsk region, 20.84% – in Minsk region, 20.05% – in Hrodna region.

The 2020 presidential election is officially scheduled for August, 9. On Tuesday, early voting kicked off in Belarus. On August 4-8, the polling stations are open from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 16.00 to 19.00. Notably, lots of independent observers are being prevented from entering polling stations throughout the country, human rights watchdogs report.

OSCE recommends Belarus amend electoral law

This year, the CEC has introduced changes at some polling stations: now the booths will not be completely closed with curtains. Moreover, the citizens’ proposal to install cameras at polling stations at the expense of Belarusians does not meet the requirements of the election law, the commission said on August, 2.

In late July, the election authorities reduced the number of observers at the stations, referring to the ‘difficult epidemiological situation in the country’. Later, CEC Chairperson Lidziya Yarmoshyna proposed observers to work at polling stations in several shifts.

The incumbent president’s opponents warn people against early casting their ballots, saying that early polling may play into the hands of the election authorities that are allegedly involved in vote rigging.

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