As a registered monitoring body by the Central Election Commission (CEC), Al-Haq has monitored the second phase of the Local Council Elections which have commenced on Saturday, 26 March 2022. Al-Haq’s efforts focused on monitoring and observing the polling process in the governorates of the West Bank, starting from opening the ballot boxes until the end of the polling process and closing the polling centers. Thus, Al-Haq has documented (115) violations which were communicated through letters to the CEC. Additionally, a number of letters on violations committed during the polling process were sent to the Palestinian Minister of Interior and to the Palestinian police. The violations that were recorded by Al-Haq included:
- The continuation of electoral campaigning in front of and outside the polling centers in favor of certain electoral lists. This was the most common violation committed throughout the West Bank, which continued until the end of the polling process.
- Exploiting children to distribute electoral campaigning material by some electoral lists, either inside spaces dedicated as polling centers or outside them, which violates the Local Council Elections Law and the Palestinian Child Law.
- Disorder was witnessed in some polling centers due to the presence of some candidates and their supporters inside and outside the centers, which created confusion in the polling process.
- Many employees of the polling centers in different parts of the West Bank were not able to exercise their right to vote due to misarrangement that occurred with staff at polling center, despite the fact that the CEC recommended to the Ministry of Education to assign employees from the areas that were included in the first phase of local elections; those who have already exercised their right to vote.
- The presence of candidates inside the areas dedicated for polling centers and in front of centers, who worked to influence voters’ decisions and publicly pushed them to vote for their particular list, which constitutes a violation of the Local Council Elections Law.
- The presence of a number of security services personnel dressed in civilian clothes while being armed inside the areas dedicated for polling centers
- The absence of police members at the entrance of some polling centers, especially in Jenin, which created a state of chaos and large gatherings at the entrances of these polling centers.
- Some voters took photos of their voting ballots after filling them out inside the voting booth (Cabin) and published them on social media platforms. In some cases, these voters have taken their ballots outside the polling centers after having completed their ballots.
- A defect in the voters’ registry- as some voters had their registry transferred to other polling centers without their knowledge.
- Some ministers and governors with their escorts visited a number of polling centers without having official certified observing cards from the CEC, which would affect the freewill of voters and violate the law.
- A number of misconducts were monitored regarding the polling of ‘illiterate persons’ in a number of polling centers. These included not following the regulations of the Local Council Elections Law and the CEC’s instructions designed for illiterate persons, which resulted in having their escorts affect their freewill. The inability to follow the new procedures by the CEC in regards to having illiterate persons complete their ballots by choosing the sign (logo) representing the electrical list, allowed escorts to continue to influence the freewill of illiterate persons.
- Some polling centers were not well facilitated for persons with disabilities due to existing stairs in the ground floors of the polling centers. This was for example the case with Omar Bin Al-Khattab secondary school for boys in the area of Nablus.
- Al-Haq also documented a number of violations regarding the non-compliance with preventive measures against Covid-19 announced by the CEC.
Al-Haq emphasizes the importance of the nominated electoral lists to abide by the Local Council Elections Law and the regulations of the CEC. Al-Haq expresses its appreciation for the CEC and the Ministry of Interior in responding to complaints submitted throughout the monitoring of the polling process. Additionally, Al-Haq calls for legal actions to be taken against those who committed violations. Al-Haq, will publish a detailed report on its monitoring of the Local Council Elections.