There is a completely viable and, most importantly, legal mechanism of breaking the scenario of ballot rigging and implementing a second electoral revolution since 1994. For this, we need active solidary work of just 1% of Belarusians! Note that I mean peaceful actions within the existing laws.
It is obvious (which is confirmed by sociology) that the majority of Belarusians want change. They want to change the regime, but prefer legal ways of doing this. We should not do this using street protests, which is considered by the authorities (and a part of society) an attempt of a coup and which they would fight against most brutally. Another ritual street protest would be like crying over spilt milk, and would lead to new jail sentences and fines. This would be a defeat and disappointment.
Victory should be prepared even now. However, the preparations should not be limited to demanding the resignation of the Central Election Commission Head Lidziya Yarmoshina. Replacing one cog won’t change the machine. The will of the people is actually distorted in the voting results protocols forded by tens of thousands of members of election commissions at all levels. These are our neighbours, colleagues, and relatives — at 6 thousand polling stations.
There are about 7 million voters in Belarus. This is an average of a little more than 1 thousand voters per ballot station. We need about 10 to 15 observers at each ballot station to control the vote from voter turnout to vote count. This is every hundredth voter — only 1% of their total number.
These are the observers who would be decisively demanding that election commission members comply with the law and carry out a transparent vote count — so that they demonstrate each ballot during the vote count, rather than their bottoms. As a result, polling stations would become six thousand rallies, six thousand electoral fronts, where the communities of 10 to 15 observers would make the election commission work honestly.
I have personal experience of how to get real results through an honest vote count. I won against a pro-regime candidate, even despite the questionable early voting, at No. 7 Akademichnaya Constituency, which was watched over by the observers, in elections to the Minsk City Executive Committee in 2018. The success was due to the fact that the observers were not idling but faced the fraud and forced the election commission to count the votes as it should be.
I am convinced this can be repeated at each ballot station during the upcoming presidential election campaign. Indeed, Lukashenka’s rating is so low today that if a transparent vote count takes place nothing would save him.
In addition, we should demonstrate our soft power on the eve of the main voting day to the officials, the police, and especially the members of precinct election commissions in order to force them take the side of conscience and the law. We might call it a warning rally, which would gather tens, or better, hundreds of thousands of people who know “who if not Lukashenka”.
I’d like to emphasize it once again that this would be a legal rally as part of the election campaign, so no propaganda could justify an “Attack!” command.
Everything is interconnected here: if the number of observers is insufficient, neither the warning rally nor a post-ballot-rigging rally would make sense because, in this case, the members of precinct election commissions would do everything the way they are used to.
However, even 1% of Belarusian voters would be able to break the usual scenario of the presidential election campaign. We may call this plan ‘Do It Ourselves’ with the help of our solidarity, responsibility, mobilization, and initiative.