International observer reveals true turnout figures at Belarus election

Mateusz Bajek, Polish journalist and observer at the elections in Belarus, has told Belsat about the real situation at the polls.

You have been in Belarus many times during the elections and claim in your report that we, the Belarusians, are being deceived by the authorities. Do you have concrete evidence? What are the main methods of deceiving people?

There is a deception before the elections, of course, and during them. But the most important thing is that they steal or add votes. They add voters for the turnout figures to be higher. And they add votes for those candidates who must win. Depending on the kind of elections, the bet is on the candidate with more votes or a bigger turnout. Now, you have local elections to the councils of deputies, which, in principle, do not change much. And the inhabitants of Belarus know this very well. Since they know this very well, they are not interested in going to the polls. That is, we can say with confidence that there will be fake turnout figures at the elections.

Besides faking turnout figures, they do it during the preliminary turnout period. In your report, you give examples of the fact that in some commissions, they tried to daily add 5% and the turnout was flat. What is the reason for this? Why is it so important to show that we have such a flat turnout.

The point was not to make the turnout flat, but to make it easier to count. It seems to me that people did not even have an idea that this should be so. It was just easier for them to count it. Five percent today, another 5% tomorrow, 5% the day after tomorrow and so on. And we have 20% altogether, and since we were given an order to have 25%, on the last day we will have 7%.

You live in Poland, you are used to different election standards. Poland, after all, is a democratic country, there is another system of elections. Nevertheless, such strange cases at polling stations are very rare. What you, as a representative of a more democratic country, find shocking in Belarus?

First, it is the fact that people working in the polls agree to participate in the falsification. I saw how one person concealed 150 votes for Tatsiana Karatkevich in the presidential election. He shoved them somewhere and wrote them down for Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Everybody saw this, I saw this, but no one paid attention to it. Everyone saw that there was a big bunch of votes for Karatkevich.

At the station where I worked, there were more votes for Lukashenka, but they did not pay attention to what was added extra to him. As a result, he received 400 votes, and she had 15, although it was clear that he received only twice as much. It shows that people do not work at the polls. They close their eyes, and this is the most important thing. It was interesting that people did not come to the polls at all. Not on the presidential ones, the turnout there was quite high. But at the parliamentary ones. They did not come. I worked in Rahachou, and at the beginning of the day this was explained to us by the fact that people were harvesting potatoes, and in the evening they were also doing it but did come. I did not see the voters at all. And then the heads of the stations come to me, who got 99% turnout, and they say that it was true.

You can smile by listening to these examples, because it’s very sad. I know that you are in contact with our Belarusian human rights activists. They asked us to convey an appeal to our viewers, so that our viewers are not afraid to be observers, that they have another chance to sign up to become observers at these elections. There are two campaigns. “Human rights defenders for free elections”, as well as “The right to choose.” Why it is necessary to be an observer, why, despite the falsifications, it is worthwhile to show their civic position.

Good observers, that is, independent ones, who do not close their eyes, but those who actually work, they see a lot. Thanks to this, they can then show what the elections were like. This, in principle, is very interesting.

I checked the results of the elections on the polls where international observers work and on those of the presidential elections. It turned out that where there were observers, the number of votes in favor of, let’s say, Tatsiana Karatkevich, was four times higher. And this is not because we stuffed the ballot. They were simply afraid of observers and were afraid to falsify.