Committee of Voters: Preliminary assessment of Local Elections
The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] has issued a preliminary assessment of the 31 October Local Elections. It informs that there were over 2,500 CVU observers around the country, 645 of whom have official observer status, while the others were there as journalists of the CVU newspaper “Point of View”.
CVU states that:
– The process of voting was generally in a free and competitive atmosphere and the Committee has no confirmation of widespread cases of pressure on voters. However the CVU recorded a considerable number of procedural and technical problems linked with the flaws in electoral legislation, low professional level of work of members of the electoral commissions and intense political confrontation at polling stations;
– The most widespread and systematic problems were queues at polling stations due to the large number of ballot papers. CVU also recorded a fair number of infringements linked with the ballot papers, with some polling stations having a number delivered either higher or lower than the number of voters. Furthermore not all Precinct Electoral Commissions [PEC] managed to stamp “withdrawn” on the ballot papers where the day before registration of candidates had been revoked. There were also spelling and factual errors on the ballot papers, as well as cases where a polling station received the wrong papers. CVU believes that this could be grounds for declaring the elections invalid at certain polling stations.
– CVU also recorded a number of non-systematic flagrant violations linked with bribery of voters; attempts to add ballot papers to the ballot box; failure to admit observers; signing of blank election result protocols. Many of these infringements were stopped after the intervention of members of the commissions, observers or law enforcement agencies. However in several cases such infringements are documented and could be grounds for appealing against the election results at those polling stations;
– The quality of voter lists was a bit better than during the last presidential elections however the information on the single voter register needs further improvement. CVU believes that one of the faults of the current legislation on the local elections was the impossibility of making amendments to the voter register on Election Day even on the basis of a court order;
– During the vote count CVU recorded several cases where procedure and consistency in the count were infringed. There were also instances where observers were not admitted, where the lights went off at polling stations and where ballot papers were deliberately spoiled. CVU does note that in many cases it was physically impossible to continue the vote count without a break at many polling stations. It condemns however cases where work on receiving protocols was stopped by territorial electoral commissions which had a considerably lighter load on Election Day;
– CVU predicts an intensification of political confrontation in certain cities where the gap between the main contenders is not great. There the situation could develop according to unpredictable scenarios. CVU believes this problem could be avoided if Mayoral elections were run in two rounds.
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