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Preliminary CNDH Observations on the Polling Day in Morocco - 8 September 2021

In its Initial Report on the observation of the 8 September 2021 legislative, regional and local elections, the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) noted that the voting process took place following the specified procedures. The CNDH observations indicated that these elections respected transparency indicators in general.

The CNDH welcomed the respect for elections periodicity and regularity that took place in exceptional and unprecedented circumstances to ensure the functioning of the representative institutions.

The same report included observations collected by the CNDH observers from 964 forms filled out on the polling day, as well as from the qualitative observations.

In numbers, the CNDH covered 4.8% of more than 40000 polling stations.

The CNDH noted 13 cases related to preventing its observers from entering the polling stations (out of 2310 observed polling stations). It also monitored 21 complaints of accredited associations prevented from entering the polling stations. The CNDH followed up on these 34 cases. More than 18 were resolved.

Opening of polling stations:

The CNDH noted that the opening of the polling stations was under normal circumstances in all observation places.

In figures, heads of polling stations attended before opening in 98.6% of the observed cases, while all other cases replaced the absent heads. 95.3% of polling stations opened at 8 am. Reporting forms were available in 98.3% of observed cases. COVID-19 precautionary measures were adopted in 92.6% of cases.

However, the CNDH noted that women head only 7.1% of the observed polling stations.

Voting process:

The CNDH noted in 1.9% of observation places, people distributing leaflets calling for voting on a particular symbol, and in several cases, electoral silence was broken.

The CNDH also noted several cases in which accessibilities for persons with disabilities were absent. In 87 cases, a voter in a situation of disability asked a voter of his choice for help.

In 36% of cases, the CNDH noted the introduction of devices prohibited by law (mobile phone, IT device, camera) to polling stations.

In addition, the CNDH noted only 15 cases of proxy votes for Moroccan living abroad including two were rejected.

On the other hand, the CNDH noted that lists of representatives and candidates expressed their observations or objections regarding the voting process in 8.8% of the forms.

Objections included using phones inside the polling station, not announcing the voter’s name out loud, etc., but the strange ones are observations and objections to assisting persons with disabilities in several and significant cases.

The CNDH also monitored violent incidents in more than one polling station or its surroundings.
It also received information on cases of violations committed inside polling stations: arresting individuals attacking the head of a polling station; using money for presumed voters; citizens receiving nominative TEXT messages in their addresses from a party asking them to vote for its candidates; attacking a polling station with a knife; taking a picture of the unique voting paper inside the district; presenting false proxy vote documents on behalf of Moroccans living abroad to the head of the polling station.

In this regard, the CNDH positively noted the intervention of the public authorities in most cases in which these violations were committed. Authorities arrested persons infringing the law and took the necessary legal measures to overcome violations.