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Half of the elections marked by voter bribery schemes and incidents of this increased significantly

(November 23, 2020)


Local election commission count votes in Boyarka, Kyiv Oblast, 25.10.2020, Source: (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)


Briefing summary


According to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), the second round of mayoral elections on November 22 was mostly held in accordance with international standards of fair and free elections, but in five cities, there was evidence of unfair technologies. Voter bribery was chief among these. “According to our observation, we have reason to believe that in half of the cities, elections were held in accordance with democratic standards, but in five cities out of 11, our observers noted the use of technologies that are part of the mechanisms for bribing voters,” said CVU Chairman Oleksiy Koshel.

Koshel stressed that CVU observers noted the mass photographing of ballots and the transportation of voters to the polling station, especially with private vehicles. “The evidence recorded by our observers in Cherkasy, when voters were transported to polling stations in private cars, were indicative. CVU observers in Cherkasy recorded about ten occurrences of this. In Cherkasy, they also recorded so-called carousels and photo ballots,” he said. In Dnipro, in one of the informal Viber groups named “Part-time work. Elections in Dnipro,” voters were offered 1.5 thousand hryvnias to provide their passport data and future vote. On election day, November 22, the group numbered nearly 25,000 people.

“We have reason to state that the number of occurrences and the scale of technologies related to bribery have increased significantly compared to the first round of elections and compared to the November 15 vote. The technology of bribery and activation of electoral groups exacerbates low turnout,” the chairman of CVU declared. In addition, Koshel drew attention to a significant problem with anti-epidemic measures at polling stations.

Among the most common violations on election day is illegal campaigning. The amount of material with illegal covert campaigning was significant and, according to CVU observers, was available in all 11 cities where the second round of elections took place. In Slovyansk, on the day of the election, observers noted campaign posters and billboards made in the style of the candidates who proceeded to the second round. Candidates’ slogans (“Slovyansk, trust the deeds” and “Let’s revive native Slovyansk”) appeared on the city’s advertising boards. Hidden agitation was also present in the city of Drohobych (billboards with the slogans of the candidates “Vote for change,” “Vote against corruption,” and “Truth will win”). Citizens also appeared in polling stations in branded masks. In Rivne, CVU observers reported voters at polling stations with masks branded with the Rivne Together party, whose candidate reached the second round of elections. CVU observers recorded voters in the same masks during voting in Rivne on October 25.

“When campaigning for themselves on election day, politicians do not respect voters and do not respect the law, which allocates this time to a so-called day of silence. Campaigning outside the deadlines set by the Electoral Code is a violation of Art. 212 (10) of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses. Such actions are subject to administrative liability in the form of a fine for citizens in the amount of 100 to 200 non-taxable minimum incomes. That is, from UAH 1,700 to 3,400, ”said CVU analyst Denys Rybachok.

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