YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The participants in the "Registration System in Armenia" seminar organized by the Foreign Ministry of Armenia and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights discussed late last week the problems related to the voter lists during the 1999 parliamentary elections in Armenia.
Head of the OSCE Election Observation Mission Nikolay Vulchanov said he believed that the reason for inaccuracies in the voter lists is the faulty registration system. He pointed out that the voter lists included the names of deceased persons and refugees and was missing the names of numerous eligible voters because the process of drawing up voter lists is not regulated by law–a single procedure of drawing up the lists has not been developed–and the law does not indicate the persons directly responsible in drawing up voter lists. According to Vulchanov–the computer communication between registration bodies as well as interaction between the population and local authorities will also promote the improvement in this system. Specifically–residents should be able to inform authorities about their permanent or temporary movemen’s.
Constitutional Court staff official Hrair Tovmassian pointed out that there were several reasons for inaccuracies in the voter lists–and "it is wrong to lay all the blame on the computers." The Electoral Law was adopted immediately before the elections–he said–and the heads of the local government bodies had no time to specify the voter lists according to the new Law. According to Tovmassian–the population was not properly informed about the stipulations of the new law–which is why many voters applied to be included on the voter lists on election day.