An observer participates in an election process to ensure civilian control over the transparency of the process. They cannot interfere with the work of election commissions or violate voters' rights, Vadim Ipatov, deputy head of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, told BelTA.
Elections are subject to strict legal regulation. The voter is at the center of the whole process. “Everything else is meant to ensure his right to cast a vote in a secret ballot. Polling stations and commissions are created for this. Elections are monitored in order to ensure transparency of the process. All this is governed by the Election Code, the CEC's rulings and methodological recommendations,” said Vadim Ipatov.
Article 13 of the Election Code determines what publicity is in the conduct and preparation of elections. It also defines the rights and responsibilities of observers. “Any citizen who is accredited as an observer must comply with the law,” Vadim Ipatov stressed. “If he commits actions that violate the secrecy of the vote, he should face appropriate consequences,” he added.
Thus, the observer should not obstruct the normal operation of the commission. He cannot stand at the tables where ballots are given, at booths and voting boxes. As for photos and video, this issue has been settled by the CEC's methodological recommendations. “An observer can take several pictures but he must coordinate his actions with the commission head who will determine from where and how many photos he can take,” Vadim Ipatov noted. If an observer takes pictures or shoots a video with a voter and then posts them online without the consent of the voter, this means he violates personal non-property rights.