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Storage place for presidential election ballots unknown


The presidential election campaign has already been over for almost two weeks, but there are questions about it that remain. And the most important one of them is whether the number of votes cast by voters corresponds with the final figures that were announced by the CEC.

The issue could be solved, if it were possible to get the protocols of the local election commissions and once again count the number of the ballots put into the boxes for each candidate. If the figures in the stations match, their sum  matches with that of the CEC - there will be no more questions. But for this you first need to find out where our ballots and protocols of local election commissions are.

"The district commission drafts three protocols, explains the CEC secretary Mikalai Lazavik. One protocol is sent to the body which established the commission - executive committee or the local administration. What it will do with it does not concern us. The second protocol is sent to the district territorial election commission. The protocols of the local election commissions, together with the district protocol shall be archived and kept for 5 years. The third protocol, together with the documents of the local commissions and ballots (!) is sent to the rayon archive. But while the ballots are destroyed after 6 months, the protocol is stored in the archive for 5 years."

If you want to deal with the issue, there is not much time: you can check the veracity of figures in the minutes of election commissions only if the ballots are there. I asked the secretary of the CEC, if there is a procedure under which journalists, politicians or ordinary citizens can do it.

"I cannot say, because I do not know - I cannot comment on something I do not know. I never had to enquire. But if the documents have been already put in the archive, the body which supervises the archive stores the documents in accordance with the law and, if necessary, provides access to them," said Mikalai Lazavik.

If the CEC does not deal not only with our ballots, but even with protocols of election commissions, then we should go a level down. Can we see the papers, for example, of the Maladzechna dwellers?

In Maladzechna there are two archives: State Enterprise "Maladzechna rayon archive" and a zonal archive of the National Academy of Sciences. I called the first one.

"We only have a private warehouse, we deal with pensions, documents of liquidated organizations. And so we do not get this kind of documents," head of the archive Tatsiana Tsykunava is surprised by the question about the ballots and the protocols of local committees and forwards us to a colleague in the zonal archive of the NAS.

"We have never stored ballots - head of the second archive Natallia Ivanova is surprised even more than her colleague. Maybe the commissions have their own archives? They don't? In any case, we receive only the documents that are stored permanently."

And the ballots and protocols, albeit after different times, eventually get destroyed. Perhaps Maladzechna District Executive Committee has a small "internal" archive, where these documents are waiting for their destruction? I called the reception asking for the number of the local executive commitee archive. But it's the number of the Maladzechna district archive...

I went back to the executive committee and asked the head of the ideology department of culture and youth affairs Aliaksandr Ramanovich questions about the whereabouts of the ballots from the last election. But he was also very surprised by my question:

"Why are you calling me? Call the chairman of the electoral commission - I'm not a member of the commission. Call the local commission for elections. It is true that the Commission is not there anymore, but the man is still alive."

Euroradio: Well, the chairman does not keep them at home anyway - where did he have to send the ballot papers?

Aliaksandr Ramanovich: I do not know, but I suppose that they are sent somewhere ... They are counted and sent somewhere ... But, honestly, I do not know - in our department, we have no idea. Here it is our local commission that solves all the issues. It is just that the Chairman of the Commission is now on vacation, as I was told.

It looks like a vicious circle: CEC sends us to district executive committees and local archives, where people get surpised and redirect us to the electoral commission, which no longer exists. There is another question: do the ballots still exist?