The Belarusian state TV channel ONT on 12 September aired a report about the collection of signatures – a stage during the parliamentary election campaign necessary to put forward candidates for the seats in the House of Representatives. Routinely typical, the broadcast contained however very interesting footage at the beginning of the report, namely some signature collectors holding the sheets with the printed home addresses, passport numbers, work, home and even mobile telephone numbers of voters.
“An interesting list, isn’t it? Slightly above, one can see a signature sheet where the personal details from this list are manually copied (as required by the electoral laws). Judging by the addresses, the ‘election’ is already taking place in a constituency of Minsk’s Frunzenski District," a former aide to MP Hanna Kanapackaya Dzianis Tsikhanenka who spotted the strange list in the ONT broadcast wrote on his Facebook page.
The list soon disappeared from the footage but the screenshots have remained. Euroradio has tried to investigate why signature collectors go around with the printouts with the passport details and phone numbers of other people.
The first rows on the top of the list mention the secondary school No 185, for example, next to the name of Yulia Yarosh, a teacher of English and a deputy head of the school’s trade union. The phone number mentioned on the list as her work telephone was earlier mentioned as the phone of the constituency election commission.
Euroradio called the people whose personal details were leaked in the TV broadcast. They confirmed that they had not signed for any potential candidate yet, were not members of any nomination groups and did not work in the election commissions. Moreover, they said they did not work at School No 185 and were not associated with it whatsoever. They had no idea how their personal details ended up on the sheets of signature collectors.
All of the people identified on the list are registered with the constituencies in Frunzenski District: Kamennahorski No 101, Western No 102, Pushkinski No 103 and Kalvaryjski No 104 (here President Lukashenka’s companion 22-year-old Miss Belarus 2018 Maryia Vasilevich will run for the parliament).
The Central Election Commission says it has no information where signature collectors could get such printouts with the personal details of voters.
“How can one comment on something one has not seen? In order to assess something, one needs to see this document and the data written in it. You may take screenshots and file a written inquiry to the Central Election Commission via a special form on the website,” Central Election Commission told Euroradio.