US Observers Praise Artsakh Voter Turnout

Voters arrive at a polling station in Artsakh to cast their vote in the Republic's parliamentary elections.
Voters arrive at a polling station in Artsakh to cast their vote in the Republic's parliamentary elections.

Voters arrive at a polling station in Artsakh to cast their vote in the Republic’s parliamentary elections.

STEPANAKERT—The University of California Election Observation and Technical Assistance Team issued Tuesday a statement regarding the parliamentary elections in Artsakh on Sunday, in which the team acted as observers.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) conducted its 6th Parliamentary election on May 3, 2015 with a fair and transparent system consistent with international standards according to a team of nonpartisan academic and subject matter experts from the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

The University of California Election Observation and Technical Assistance Team observers visited with representatives, candidates and party offices, polling stations, and government offices including the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh.

On Election Day, observers visited 16 polling stations in six of Artsakh’s nine regions and a regional passport department that assists voters who are not on the voting list. The team also observed the opening and closing processes of polling stations, and witnessed the chain of custody of voted and counted ballots to the district administration center of the Regional Electoral Commission. The team also visited a polling station set up in the country’s only prison where 20 voters were eligible to vote. Prior to Election Day the team visited a polling station set up in Yerevan for Artsakh citizens residing in Armenia including those who are attending either university or military school located there.

Throughout the election, the observers witnessed a fair, accurate, and transparent election process.

“The commitment of the voters and poll workers of Nagorno-Karabakh would rival any country,” Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin said as reports of from the polls showed turnout to be 70 percent or higher.

Observers also noted that women in Artsakh were equal participants in the election in every aspect including participating as voters, poll workers, party representatives, government officials, and candidates. The team of observers will prepare a report outlining their findings and make suggestions to improve the electoral process. The preliminary report will include recommendations to implement alternative voting options for voters who are absent from their precinct on Election Day, and those who are not able to get to the polling station.

The University of California Election Observation and Technical Assistance Team is comprised of a group of professional non-partisan academics, researchers and experts in the fields of electoral processes and human rights. Members of the Team also monitored the 2012 presidential elections in Artsakh.

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