Raffi Hovannisian Campaign Headquarters. Record of Violations as of February 19, 2013 - 8 AM

February 19, 2013 - 8AM

From: Raffi Hovannisian Campaign Headquarters

To: International Election Monitors

Dear Colleagues,

The enclosed is a preliminary list of violations collected at Raffi Hovannisian campaign headquarters on the day of February 18, 2013. Together with our earlier report documenting the massive violations occurring in the pre-election period (also enclosed), they reflect the ultimate failure of the authorities to organize a free and transparent presidential election in the Republic of Armenia. You will find attached a catalogue of bribery, fraud, corruption, intimidation, actual ballot-stuffing—a phenomenon absent in the last elections—and severe violations across all categories. These violations are so rampant and systematic, that they leave no doubt that Armenia has just suffered a humiliating, scandalous election.

The Armenian people are grateful for your participation in its struggle for freedom and democracy. We hope that you will, in these final hours, find the fortitude to bring your mission to an honorable close and hold Armenia to the highest possible standards of democracy and dignity.


Presidential Elections, February 18, 2013

1. Verin Getashen, Gegharkunik marz. An anonymous voter witnessed open ballot (non-secret) voting.

2. Aghbyuradzor, Vardenis. Armen Vardanyan: “Voters are being intimidated; open voting is occurring.”

3. Saramenj, Lori region. Anonymous voter: “Voters enter the mayor’s office, receive 5,000 AMD, and then cast their votes.”

4. Polling station 4/22. Election Commissioner Anahit Hovhanisyan: “People are brought from Artsruni Street, where Serzh Sargsyan’s campaign office is located, to vote.”

5. Norkyank, Shirak region. Anonymous voter: “Vote-buying is underway. Ballots are inspected before they are cast.”

6. Polling station 10/24. Anna Hovhanisyan: “Serzh Sargsyan’s representative is calling people, and asking them to come and vote.”

7. Polling station 4/7, public school #149. Anonymous voter: “The bottom of the ballot box is open.”

8. Village Nazrvan. Anonymous voter: “The mayor is pressuring voters into voting for Serzh Sargsyan.”

9. Polling station 9/1, public school #33. Campaign representative witnessed multiple voting.

10. Polling station 8/16, Babajanyan 37/1. 10:50. Nazar Dovlatyan. “Observers are assisting voters. The President of the Election Commission is not responding to the complaint.”

11. Polling station 13/37. Nubarashen, public school #175. 11:00. Anonymous voter: “The local observer is constantly intervening, checks the registration lists, and passes on information to the outside. We have tried to stop this to no avail.”

12. Polling station 42/46. 10:50. Sevak Dashlyan: “Four members of my family, Hasmik, Shake, Ruben and Gohar, who have long lived in France, and have applied to be removed from the voter registration list, are still to be found in the list.”

13. Aghbyuradzor village, Vardenis. Armen Vardanyan. “Voters are being intimidated, open voting is occurring.”

14. Polling station 12/35. Charbakh, public school #158. 11:27. “After two hours, the voting stamp has evaporated.” The vanishing ink of the stamp has been widely documented, and is the basis of multiple-voting.

15. Kochari Borsa. 11:30. A mother of a child: “At kindergarten #23, the headmaster (Angela) held children hostage until their parents went to vote. The headmasters are calling parents and asking them to vote.”

16. Polling station 19/41. Norakert, Armavir region. 11:45. Vardan Grigoryan: “The mayor is instructing voters to vote for #6.”

17. Polling station 5/30 and 5/31. 12:05. Campaign representative Susanna Barkhudaryan: “Group voters are being instructed how to vote.”

18. Polling stations 34/24 and 34/4. Gyumri public schools #7 and #11. Campaign representative Vahagn Hovanisyan. 12:00. “Observers are copying information from the voter log and are transmitting it outside of the polling station.”

19. Polling station 1/32, public school #139. 12:00. Lusine Petrosyan: “Observers are constantly intervening.”

20. Polling station 8/22, public school #191. 12:35. Lusine Petrosyan: “They are threatening our campaign representative.”

21. Polling station 13/17, public school #43. 12:40. Davit Harutyunyan. “Tokhmakhi Mher’s people are crowding and intimidating; they are approaching voters and instructing them to vote for Serzh Sargsyan.”

22. Dvin, near Ararat and Artashat. A member of ARF, supporter of ARF: “There are instructions to vote for all absent voters.”

23. Polling station, 11/16. Michael Shushanik. 13:30. “The stamp vanished by the time he got home.”

24. Berd, Tavush region. Cultural center. 13:45. Anonymous voter, a member of HAK. “General absence of control. Voters are engaged in multiple voting.”

25. Horom, Shirak region. Sargis Khachatryan. 14:00. “General lawlessness. An official from the municipality is offering 5000 AMD. Open voting.”

26. Eghiyapatrus, Aragatsotn region. Hamlet Sargsyan. 14:51. “The mayor and the school principal and his brother Gnel Grigoryan are intimidating voters, and threatening to cut their social benefits, will expel their children from kindergarten. The community has 486 voters.”

27. Polling station 3/27. Anonymous voter. “President of the Election Commission has registered a fake passport incident. The voter having voted at another polling station with the President of Election Commission (he/she was a neighbor), had come to the 3/27 to vote again.”

28. Polling station 14/15. Karbi, Aragatsotn region. “The Election Commission member representing Serzh Sargsyan is inspecting ballots to see how citizens have voted.”

29. Polling station 7/01. 14:45. Tamar Grigoryan witnessed how a person standing by the ballot box receives a bundle of ballot envelopes, and hides it away from others.

30. Polling station 9/18. Abgar Sargsyan has witnessed how a person with a possible fake passport was not able to answer a question about his/her father’s name. He then ran away.”

31. Polling station 12/13. Vruyr Matevosyan via Facebook. The stamp vanished.

32. Polling station 11/3. Anonymous voter. 16:33. “He/she has noticed three strangers registered under his/her address. The names of the strangers: Gor Gagiki Arakelyan; Marine Karleni Harutyunyan; Rosa Matevosi Nersesyan.”

33. Polling station 3/33. Heritage representative Daniel Ionessian. “Frequent and inexplicable power outages.”

34. Vanadzor. A citizen reported that a woman named Almast was bribed and her three-member family received 30,000 AMD from Serzh Sargsyan headquarters. On February 17 the woman passed away and today already the incumbent's representative demands back 10,000 AMD.

35. Vanadzor, precinct 29/4. The voter lists are posted so high that people are not able to read their names.

36. Yerevan, Secondary School of the Fourth Village. Samvel Aleksanyan, current MP and oligarch, bribed the entire staff of the village’s two kindergartens. Each employee received 25,000AMD to vote for the incumbent.

37. Erebuni, Yerevan. Reports of bribes being distributed among voters.

38. Lori region, Katnarat village. 5000AMD is offered to citizens in order to vote for Serzh Sargsyan.

39. Lori region, Agarak village, polling station 32/39. 300 voters out of registered 960 are currently abroad and the village head intends to “dispense” those votes to the incumbent.

40. Yerevan, 22 Zohrap Street. A citizen Yuri Ghrkhikyan reports that his son Ara Ghrkhikyan and brother Toros Ghrkhikyan (who do not live in Armenia and are Russian Federation citizens) are still registered on the voter list, enabling the possibility of false voting.

41. Tashir, precinct 32/5. Mariam Palutyan, Heritage’s representative in the territorial electoral commission, recorded an act of ballot box stuffing.

42. Yerevan, 48 Artashesyan Street. Ashot Arevshatyan offers bribe to voters.

43. Karadzor village, precinct 29/24. Village head Arayik Matinyan is openly engaged in ballot box stuffing and guides the voters on how to vote. The head of the precinct electoral commission refuses the request of the Heritage commission representative to record these violation acts in the official register book.

44. Yerevan, Heratsi street. Mikayel Nshanyan (cell: 077060612) reports that two strange minibuses were in front of polling station located at Acharyan school.

45. Myasnik Grigori Safaryan (tel: 010. 42-95-85) reports that the owners of 54 Shirak street, 43 apartment—Gagik Andraniki Davtyan, Tigran Gagiki Davtyan, and Alisa Hovakimyan—have not lived in Armenia for ten years but are still registered on the voter list, enabling the possibility of false voting.

46. Shirak region, Horom village. Sargis Khachatryan reports that voters receive 5,000 AMD from the village head, witnessed by Municipality employees Sahak Minasyan and Karlen Abrahamyan, and then cast their votes.

47. Polling station 8/11, 97 kindergarten of Oshakan. Khachatur Khachatryan (contacts: 095-917202, 093-917251) witnessed double voting via supplemental lists.

48. At 11:30am. Shengavit, Yerevan. A man named Tigran: “The ink on the last page of passports disappears in a couple of minutes.”

49. Chochakan village, Lori region. An anonymous voter witnessed open voting on Election day and bribe distribution on the previous day.

50. Norakert village, polling station 19/41. The head of the village is present in the polling station and forces villagers to vote openly so he can see who they vote for.

51. Aragats factory, polling station 3/19. Excessive accumulation of voters inside and outside the polling station.

52. Inessa Petrosyan reports at 12:30 that the ink on the last page of her passport disappeared after an hour.

53. Arabkir district, 23 Kindergarten, Vratsakan street. A parent reports that the kindergarten employees are being kept at the local municipality of Arabkir and being demanded to ensure that the parents will vote for the incumbent.

54. At 11:25. Precinct 9/18. Citizen Abgar Sargsyan informs that Arkadi and Nelli Bablumyan as well as Susanna Petrosyan are currently abroad but their names have not been removed from the voter lists.

55. Precinct 7/13, South-Western District of Yerevan. Multiple voting: Edgar Petrosyan reports that an unknown person guided 10-12 people to vote by a supplemental voter list.

56. Verin Getashen village. Village head Artush Ghukasyan is always present in the precinct forcing the villagers vote openly so he can ensure that they vote for the incumbent.

57. Kapan, Precinct 38/12. Excessive crowding inside and outside the polling stations and indications of ballot box stuffing. Heritage MP Zaruhi Postanjyan and Aravot newspaper’s journalist Mary Soghomonyan were in attendance at this polling station.

58. Arabkir 37, polling station 4/13. Heritage precinct electoral commission member found an empty envelope left by Republican Party member and voter Vahagn Smbatyan who came to vote for the second time.

59. Nor Nork district, Yerevan, polling station 3/33. Daniel Ionessian reports that 2 proxies of Serzh Sargsyan intended to be present at the polling station together and only by the help of police was one of them forcibly removed from the precinct.

60. Amiryan, polling station 24/7. Abgar Sargsyan reports that the names of three dead people—Karen Ghazanchyan, Narine Sahakyna and Michael Avetisyan—still exist in the voter lists and registries.

61. Sari Tagh, School #47, polling station 13/4. Two voters found out that somebody has already signed instead of them in the register books of voters. The Heritage proxy reported this.

62. 3rd district, polling station 5/10. A group of people hindered voters and did not allow the Heritage proxy to make a report. 

63. Kharberd, polling station 16/41. Guided voting and open voting occurs.

64. Polling station 8/9. Narine Vardumyan reports: “Already the second time a group of people is being brought to vote by additional voter lists.”

65. Ashtarak, Ohanyan, and Nazrvan villages. Village heads direct voters to vote for the incumbent.

66. Zovuni village. Voter Asatour Papyan reports: “The village head directs voters to vote openly for the incumbent.”

67. Vardenis, Aghbyuradzor. Voter Armen Vardanyan reports: “People are being threatened and forced into open voting.”

Reports from our Facebook page:

68. Polling station 16/30. A voter from Hayanist, Ararat region reports: “Over 70% of the community are seniors, at least 60 years old. The number of voters are 1862. Most of these are being brought to the stations by supporters of the incumbent. There are a number of individuals who are not displaying any credentials, and are interfering with the voting process. The elder voters are disoriented, and instead of assisting them, these unauthorized persons are voting for them.”

69. Polling station 14/5, Ashtarak. A voter reports: “Serious violations are taking place. People are voting for others; a member of the Election Commission is voting, in violation of the electoral code; the Heritage representative is alone and cannot control the proceedings.”

70. A voter from Apaga, Armavir. “In Apaga, there are no free elections. The mayor is bribed.”

71. Polling station 29/12. A voter reports: “Soldiers are voting. One of them reported that the ballot box has a crack, through which ballots are being stuffed.”

72. An anonymous voter reports: “Around Masis there are serious violations. A hundred ballots are being stuffed for Serzh; I know their names.”

73. Precinct 29/45. A voter reports: “At our polling station in Saramejum, Lori, 5,000 AMD bribes are being distributed. Villagers are first escorted to the Mayor’s office. In addition, Serzh’s people are openly pressuring voters to vote for him. They are standing over the voter’s shoulders and pointing to Serzh’s name on the ballot. I am asking you to strengthen your oversight of these polling stations. I ask you to protect my identity. I fear for my family and self.”

74. Polling station 29/45. A voter reports: “Mr. Hovannisian, new violations are taking place. Your proxy, Mr. Stepan Safarian has been cursed at and forcibly removed from the polling station. Please respond. People are losing hope.”

75. “Please send a group to Hovtashat, where people are giving you their vote. They are stamping the ballots incorrectly, so that they will be hard to confirm. If you don’t win, we will start a war.”

76. Davtashen 5/14 polling station (kindergarten). In the small room to the left of the entrance they are passing out bribes. And the stamp is disappearing immediately.

77. At the Leningradian 38 address, number 41 kindergarten, the ballot box shows clear signs of being stuffed.

78. Vardenis region, in the Dorfavan and Vanevan communities. Open voting is being conducted. Villagers are being given land tax and fuel coupons in return for open voting.

79. “At the Kanakeravan election station, the electoral commission consists of 3-4 people, all of theme Kanakeravtsi and all of them members of the Rupublican Party. It seems impossible that you will be able to protect your votes here.”

80. “From the Martuni district, a group of company employees have left for Yerevan to be able to vote for a second time. The voting station is in the Armentel building.”

81. Ararat region, Avshar village. Villagers that are coming to vote, but are being told that they others have voted in their stead. Voters that insisited were allowed to vote, but if they voted for Raffi Hovannisian their ballot was discarded. The MP of this village is the owner of Avshar Wine Factory, Araik Grigorian, and the village mayor is his brother.

82. 29/45 voting district, Lori region, Sarametch village. “They are giving out 5000 dram vote bribes. The villagers are going first to the Town Hall to get the money and then are heading to the school to vote. In addition, Republican representatives and the precinct committee president are showing them Serzh Sargsyan’s name and forcing them to vote for him. I fear for my and my family’s safety.”

83. “The village mayor of Verin Artashat in the Ararat region is entering the voting booth and forcing young voters and women voters to vote for the incumbent. I am disgusted.”

84. Jamparak city and two other voting stations. “People are going to the voting stations, picking up their ballots, entering the voting booth, opening the ballots to vote and what do they see? A check mark in front of the current president’s name.”

85. “The local neighborhood leader as well as the local Republican Party leaders are terrorizing and bribing us with 5000 AMD. They are also forcefully directing us into minibuses and taxis, and forcing us to vote for Serzh Sargsyan.”

86. Gegharkunik region, Geghahovit village. “They are pressuring those who have already voted to vote for a second time, and are offering money in return.”

87. Lori region, Nor Kachakar. “Village head is collecting passports, and votes for over 200 people have been registered in the place of nonparticipating citizens.”

88. Shirak region, Mantash and Getap villages. “At this moment enormous election violations are taking place. In Mantash, the ballots are pre-marked for Serzh, the village mayor won't allow people to vote as they please. In Getap, the village mayor is passing out 5000 AMD bribes. It pains me that these things are occurring in front of my eyes. Unfortunately at my age I'm not able to interfere.”

89. Sari Tag. Head of the district and Republican Party leader use public intimidation and bribes of 5000 AMD to make people vote for Serzh Sargsyan.

90. Syunik region, Geghahovit. “People who have already voted are being forced to go and vote again. They are also offered money.”

91. Lori, New Khachakar village. “Village head has taken the 9th forms from the passports of nearly two hundred people who are currently not in Armenian and used their votes.”

92. Shirak, Mantash, and Getap. “Major election violations look place. In Mantash ballots were pre-marked for Serzh Sargisyan. In Getap the voters are bribed to vote for Serzh Sargsyan.”

93. “Near public school #132, numerous cars have gathered, filled with many young people. Another Gazel minivan stood suspiciously by the 27/1 apartment building – people were getting in and out of the minivan and heading into the polling station.

An illustrative email from an independent election observer, documenting ballot stuffing and physical violence against her:

94. From Narine Esmaeili. Election Observer from Birthright Armenia in Artashat precinct 17/5.

“We entered the polling place around 8. From the very start the commission members as well as the proxies told us to mind our own business and sit in the corner. We paid no attention and recorded Serzh Sargsyan supporters trying to vote more than once. Serzh’s proxies changed literally once an hour at this point and many of his supporters who seemed to be some sort of ranking offcials kept coming in and keeping an eye on us. Around 2:30 I noticed a lot of people were walking in (the max is 15). I asked the assigned cop to stop them and all of a sudden around 30 men entered and surrounded the ballot box. I walked up and grabbed the arm of one of the men who was holding on to the box and he pushed me against the wall and held my hands. He kept me there until it was over. From where I was standing I saw the commission’s secretary had opened the box and one of the other men poured in a bag full of ballots. I estimated around 400 since the count was at 500 about 20 min before hand and it seemed to have doubled. They ran out and everyone in the room pretended like nothing happened.

I called my boss. I called media center, OSCE, and almost everyone I could think of. Then I made the stupid move of calling the cops becasue they started harassing me. The village leader (whose son had pushed me) came in WITH the cops to tell me that I'm a good smart young girl and that I should stop lying if I want to stay out of trouble. They took my partner to a separate room and questioned him for over an hour only to make a faulty report. Then during counting they nearly arrested us when we complained about the numbers.”

95. Polling stations 18/23 and 18/24, Verdi. Heritage campaign proxy and ARF proxy witnessed attempts by Republican proxies and election commission officials to falsely report ballot count tallies. They spoke with Heritage campaign camera crew and a rapid response team about these acts. They submitted to them the official voter tally asking them to ensure that the final submission match these numbers.

96. Polling station 9/05. Metaks. A campaign proxy reports that Raffi was winning the vote count. He and a camera crew with a journalist heard loud banging, and went towards the noise. They opened the door, and the person on the other side said he had lost his passport. The proxy and the crew returned to the table where the votes were being counted, and all of a sudden Serzh was winning significantly. (http://youtu.be/nCISwR7_KVQ

97. Torfavan and Vanevan villages in Vardenis. Ballots are cast openly. Voters are being provided property tax vouchers and oil, in return for voting openly.

98. A voter from Kanakeravan reports that all Election Commission members are Hanrapetakan, and says he/she is afraid all Raffi Hovannisian’s votes will be lost.

99. At electoral precinct 7/06 at midnight Vahagn Khatchatryan has sounded the alarm that the president of the election commission has arbitrarily decided to stop the vote counting and has taken to talking mysteriously on his phone. A team was dispatched from the Raffi Hovannisian campaign to the precinct.

100. In electoral precinct 8/11 commission member Khatchatur Khatchatryan reports that, between the hours of 9:30 and 11:00, the supplementary voter list composed of 111 names included 59 permanent residents of Oshakan village of the Aragatsotn region. All of these voters, incidentally, were bussed in en masse.

101. In electoral precinct 8/11 commission member Khatchatur Khatchatryan was approached, between the hours of 16:30 and 17:00, by a citizen who identified himself as the supervisor of Building 55 on Andranik Street and who asked to be given voting information on residents of his building, so that he could enforce the votes required of him. The citizen held in his hand a list—ostensibly a bribe list—which Khatchatryan confiscated from him and the first page of which we reproduce here. Such lists are very popular within the incumbent’s campaign, and they are used to keep accountable those citizens who receive bribes.

102. At polling station 9/5, Raffi Hovannisian representative Roza Badasian submitted a complaing to the election commission president. According to her, after a brief absence from the room, she noticed that Serzh Sargsyan’s ballots had significantly increased. This is confirmed by Arthur Eminyan of the same precinct.

103. At polling station 4/1 it was noticed that Lianush Vilushi Gevorgyan’s address, as listed in her passport, did not match the addressed on the supplemental list where she was registered. The commission president allowed her to vote anyway.

104. Three members of the commission at polling station 4/1 witnessed how Sona Mikayeli Vardanyan arrived at the precinct only to find that somehow else had already voted in her name.

105. At many polling stations substitute ballot boxes, pre-stuffed with ballots, were present. In several cases, after the initial count in Raffi Hovannisian’s favor, Hovannisian’s representatives were offered major bribes. At polling station 3/12 Heritage commission member Hmayak Azaryan was offered, but refused, ten thousand dollars to momentarily leave the room.

106. At polling station 4/23 Heritage commission member Margarita Hakobyan reports that most of the 70 people voting by supplementary list were registered to one of two recurring addresses.

107. At polling station 9/1 Raffi Hovannisian representative Armen Virabyan reports, in addition to instances of multiple voting, that 70-100 of Hovannisian’s votes were stolen during the counting process, while many others were found illegitimate. This was, by the way, a recurring theme, whereby up to 250 Hovannisian ballots were disqualified as illegitimate in a single precinct.

Media Links of Interest

Vanishing ink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkU2NtWXkOI

Elderly man told whom to vote for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjlP_b2RNJ8&feature=player_embedded

In buses, organizers with lists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49GQKyBfStQ&feature=player_embedded

Henchmen outside precincts – a common sight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=51akFjt32-g#!

People voting for others: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP_L5TGcvAI&list=UUxPJyX0oQWmqZ5akbuN5DTg

Violations of election code: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eZ6vXYPbig&list=UUxPJyX0oQWmqZ5akbuN5DTg

Man attempts to vote with fake passport: http://youtu.be/zaBkS6aTloI