INTERIM RESULTS of Observation conducted by the Civil Network OPORA on the Election Day (27.10.2014)
Civil Network OPORA states that the voting process in Early Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine was regular and without incidents that could cast doubt on legitimacy of the election process. Taking into consideration the military operations on the East, 51.2% voter turnout (according to the results of parallel vote tabulation conducted by the OPORA, margin of error is not higher than 1.9%) is quite high, and shows that citizens are interested in political processes. The absolute majority of candidates had equal opportunities. However, campaigning in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts was complicated by activities of illegal armed groups, supported by the regular army of the Russian Federation. Thus, we cannot say that the campaign was held freely on all territory of Ukraine. OPORA considers the decision of the CEC not to conduct voting in 15 single-mandate majoritarian election district (9—Donetsk oblast, 6—Luhansk oblast) was quite reasonable. As long as Ukrainian government has no control over these territories, it’s impossible to conduct legitimate electoral process there.
On 26 October OPORA’s observers reported the following violations at polling stations: attempts to give ballots without passport verification (12.9% polling stations), presence of unauthorized persons at polling stations (6.8%), attempts of illegitimate voting (6,3% of polls), attempts to take a ballot out of polling station (4.1%), violation of the voting secrecy (3,9%), taking picture of a ballot paper (2%), attempts of ballot box stuffing (1.8%), giving money and presents to the voters (1,5%). If we compare the dynamics and types of violations reported this year with those reported in 2012 regular elections, and 2013 re-election in 5 problematic districts, observers denote that controlled voting and fraud are less common. It means that the influence of administrative resource and voter bribery has decreased. Nevertheless, all incidents reported by observers and journalists should be investigated by law-enforcement bodies in order to punish the responsible and prevent such violations in the future.
OPORA’s observers are still working at district election commissions, watching procedural violations that occur when the protocols are transferred from PECs to DECs, whether members of PECs have PEC seals with them (which should be left at the polling place), or are trying to make changes to the protocols. Determination of voting results and activities of the DEC are watched by our observers. The results will be published right after the stage of receiving PEC protocols in DECs. (…)
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Committee of Voters of Ukraine: Report on Results of Voting and Vote Tabulation Monitoring. Summary
Voting on election day was generally conducted in accordance with the law and international standards.
However, CVU’s official observers reported a number of problems related to the organization of the voting process and preparation for its implementation.
Similarly to the presidential election in May 2014, many parties and candidates have broken the law forbidding campaigning on election day and the day preceeding. In particular, last-minute outdoor political advertising appeared in many regions, most often associated with “Batkivschyna,” Petro Poroshenko Bloc, and the Radical Party.
Voters generally were able to make an informed choice on election day. At the same time, the possibility of such a choice was complicated by the lack of information posters of candidates and parties at many stations, as well as non-transparent financing of election campaigns. Before election day, the CEC published on its website the interim financial statements for only 2 of the 29 parties, while the financial reports of candidates in single-mandate constituencies were available for less than half of the constituencies.
Among the most common problems and irregularities in the organization of voting: frequent changes in polling stations and DECs, made on the last day before the election and leading to misunderstandings among members of the preparatory commission meeting; no posters on many stations; cases of vote-buying and organizing so-called “carousel voting”; cases of mass transportation of voters to the polls; interference with the work of district and precinct election commissions; wrongful stamping of “Removed” on some ballots, cases of obstruction of official observers, and others.
However, the number of violations of election law in the organization of voting process on October 26, 2014 were significantly lower than in the previous parliamentary elections of 2012. Many violations were related to the fact that the elections were held according to the mixed electoral system, which opens the door to abuse by candidates in single-member constituencies. The introduction of the latest amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the upcoming transition to a proportional electoral system with voting for “open lists” of candidates will significantly reduce the number of violations of election law not only on election day, but also in preparation for its conduct.
Despite limited human resources, law enforcement authorities properly maintained law and order at polling stations and properly responded to violations of election laws during election day. Cases of bribery of voters, of “carousel voting”, of unauthorized interference with the work of the “Vybory” computer analytical program in one of the districts of Kiev should be properly investigated and perpetrators should be brought to justice under recent amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
In view of the overall situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, it can be argued that voting in the Donbas (in areas controlled by the Ukrainian government, which conducted the vote) was duly secured, although not unproblematic. Some problems occurred at the stage of processing protocols of vote counting by the polling stations (DEC #60 paused its work because of attacks by the separatists, there were problems with the admission of observers to do their duty in DEC # 50, etc.)
In general, vote counting, the transportation of election documents, and tabulation were conducted with no significant violations. The main problems at this stage were incorrect drafting of the reports of the vote count at the polling stations, resulting in the need to provide corrected protocols and traditionally long queues to submit the election documents at the DECs. In some districts, cases of empty signed protocols and transportation of election documents to the DEC with polling station seals were observed.
ENEMO Preliminary Assessment (27.10.2014)
“Ukrainian voters casted their ballots in a transparent and efficient manner”
The European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) has deployed 206 short-term observers to monitor the October 26, 2014 Early Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine. All stages of the voting process, including the opening, polling, the counting of the votes and the tabulation of results in polling stations and district election commissions (DECs) were monitored.
Mr. Srdjan Pavlicic, Head of the ENEMO Mission to Ukraine 2014 stated: “The preliminary assessment of ENEMO is that the polling on October 26 was conducted in a transparent and efficient manner, and generally in compliance with international standards. Certain irregularities that did not have significant influence on the outcome of the results were observed, especially during the campaign period.”
Election authorities, especially the Central Election Commission (CEC) made extraordinary efforts in order to conduct elections and to allow voters to cast their votes in a complex political and security environment, by meeting the shortened deadlines related to the character of this election.
ENEMO acknowledges the efforts of all election stakeholders, including the citizens of Ukraine, which contributed towards organizing and conducting a calm and transparent voting process. “However, the process of tabulation and announcing of the official results is still to be conducted. Therefore, ENEMO encourages all participants in the election process to stay calm and restrain from any kind of unethical behavior”—added Mr. Pavlicic.
The ENEMO mission underlines the need for further continuation of open and inclusive electoral reform discussion with the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, including civil society, in order to improve and harmonize electoral legislation. Moreover, ENEMO recommends the professionalization of district election administration, at least at the management level, which would contribute towards raising the institutional capacity of DECs.
ENEMO observers visited 101 polling stations during the opening stage. Observers in total made 1,250 visits to polling stations and followed the counting in 99 polling stations and transfer of results to 99 DECs.
ENEMO’s international observation mission for the Ukrainian Early Presidential Elections 2014 is financially supported by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kyiv and the EU European Development Fund.