Modernization in Latest Election Moves Georgia Proves Successful
Tbilisi, Georgia - May 1, 2023 – "Today was very important day for both our country and the election administration. We utilized electronic devices on a large scale, and by the end of the day, we can confidently say that the application of technology was conducted successfully," said Giorgi Kalandarishvili, Chair of the Central Election Commission (CEC) for the Republic of Georgia as he presented the First Preliminary Results of the elections held April 29.
The CEC successfully deployed an advanced election technology solution during the Parliamentary by-elections. With this, Georgia moved forward in its quest to become a European Union (EU) member state by improving the efficiency and transparency of its elections.
Polling centers at some 117 locations in 10 districts were equipped with biometric devices to validate voter identity. Optical scanners were used to register and count votes cast on paper ballots. Additionally, each polling site was provided a tablet to consolidate results. These technologies improved voter authentication and helped ensure votes were accurately registered and swiftly counted.
Commenting on the fast processing of results, Kalandarishvili said, “The large-scale utilization of electronic technologies allowed us to present preliminary results based on information from the 117 electoral precincts where electronic voting was applied, just an hour and a half after the end of voting.”
Election administrators from 12 countries who traveled to Georgia positively assessed the use of technology. “We are certain that using new technologies will generally strengthen public trust in elections. We would like to underline that this large-scale pilot program was successful," said Hermine Harutunian, representative of the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Armenia.
“We observed the use of new electronic technologies in Georgia, which was a great challenge for you. I want to underline that you have successfully passed this big exam,” stated Suad Arnautović, chairperson of the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Georgia is currently in the process of becoming a member of the European Union. As a candidate, the country is required to meet twelve priorities, known as the "12-point conditions". The revision of the Georgian election code and the modernization of its elections are an integral part of this goal.
During the past two years, the CEC has been working with technology partner Smartmatic to modernize their elections. Georgian authorities have deployed Smartmatic technology in the cities of Batumi, Adjara and Senaki in three prior elections.