One voter in several cities and countries – at once
After the numerous irregularities and abuses that we, as the CRTA Election Observation Mission noted before, during and after Election Day, and which we presented to the public on several occasions, citizens have gotten in contact with us and shared information about manipulations related to elections.
Investigating information obtained from citizens and cross-checking it with the database published by the Istinomer portal and the publicly available data from the voter register, we have arrived at new conclusions – those that confirm and increase suspicions of severe manipulations to the voter register with the aim of overturning the will of the voters in the local elections in Belgrade.
At the same time in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
After receiving tips from citizens who searched the Istinomer database, which shows how many voters were registered at which address for the December elections in Belgrade, we were led to the address Danijelova 9 in Voždovac. This is the site of an unfinished building where as many as 129 voters were registered for the Belgrade elections.
We looked up their names in the voter register (for parliamentary and local elections in 2022 and 2023), which is made available on the website of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government. We found that a large number of voters, who allegedly live in that building, and who do not have the conditions for housing, were registered only to vote in the Belgrade elections. For the parliamentary elections, they were found at various polling stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Višegrad, Bijeljina, Zvornik, Lopare, Pale, Novo Goražde, Banja Luka, Sarajevo.
Doubts about illegal and illegitimate electoral engineering are especially prompted by the fact that as many as 96 percent of voters from Danijelova 9 did not reside in Belgrade or Serbia before the elections held in April 2022. Everyone gained the right to vote in local elections in Belgrade between January and April 2022, which we deduced by looking at the voter register for the 2022 referendum.
Additionally, the results of the Serbian Progressive Party at the polling station that includes Danijelova 9 are significantly higher compared to the surrounding polling stations (by as much as 9 percentage points compared to the average for the local community).
In order to remove the suspicion that behind such and other illogicalities lies the intention to manipulate the voter register in order to alter the electoral will of the citizens, the institutions of the Republic of Serbia are required to provide explanations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs must publish the exact number of residences per household, and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government must make public the names and surnames of voters per household. Both ministries should publish this data with all changes made in the last two years on a month-by-month basis.
Who, if anyone, is permitted to change the data in the voter register?
Following the trail of one person registered at the polling station which includes Danijelova 9, and by looking up the voter register from 2022, we found 679 voters who were practically cloned in the official voter register for the 2022 parliamentary elections. Those voters could vote for members of the National Assembly at as many as seven polling stations at the same time – one in Velika Plana and three each in Čačak and Kraljevo respectively.
All of them were cloned in the 2023 Parliamentary elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina at two polling stations – in Zvornik and Lopare, and some of them had the right to vote in the Belgrade elections as well.
The calculation, therefore, suggests that a number of voters out of the mentioned 679 were registered at as many as 10 polling stations in two countries in the two-year period.
If the “cloning” of voters happened by mistake, someone has started to rectify it, that is after the 2023 elections. When we downloaded the voter register for the parliamentary elections from the MDULS website on December 19, a man with the specific name Budimir Rikanović, together with his seven family members, was registered at the polling station in Velika Plana, three polling stations in Čačak and three polling stations in Kraljevo. In January 2024, with subsequent inspection of the voter register for the 2022 parliamentary elections, we found Budimir Rikanović and his family at six polling stations – they were deleted from one polling station in Kraljevo.
Is someone moving voters at the central level, like chess pieces – from one municipality to another, from one city to several? The order is unknown, however, what is known is who could establish it. In the first place it is the Prosecutor’s Office, which by line of duty would have to initiate proceedings and determine the responsibility of all those who used the voter register to influence the outcome of the electoral chess game.
If this does not happen, if the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, as well as the authorities in local self-government units remain silent with regards to the manipulations recorded in the 2023 elections, the legitimacy and legality of every subsequent election will be questionable. Therefore, we will not be able to call them elections at all.