The State Department advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution because of increased tensions around the world and the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.
Q-n: how would you assess the election environment today?
Ambassador Kelly Degnan: Gamarjoba! I am very happy to be here in Marneuli as an election observer. It’s good to see people coming out to vote, people wearing masks. [Speaking Georgian] These elections are very important for Georgia, calm environment and free election for people is essential [end of Georgian]. Freedom to vote and to elect your leaders in a free and fair election, and then to hold them accountable through elections is absolutely fundamental to any healthy democracy. In a fair election there is no room for vote buying, there is no room for voter intimidation, there is no place for forcing people to photograph their ballots. Today, the U.S. Embassy has over 75 people all over Georgia, observing the elections, monitoring the media coverage, consulting with local and international observers, because this is an important day, and we really wanted it to be a day that Georgians will be proud of. What I have seen so far is a pretty calm, peaceful atmosphere, I hope that that’s going to continue throughout the whole day, and that there is going to be respect for the outcome. The Central Election Commission has done so much to prepare for this and to make it safe for people to come out and vote despite COVID. So, [speaking Georgian] please go to vote [end of Georgian]. Madloba!