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Holding polls on the Election Day contradicts the Electoral Code

(October 14, 2020)




The Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) is concerned with the initiative of the President of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskii on holding an all-country poll on the voting day of the October 25 regular local elections.

The Electoral Code of Ukraine does not stipulate procedures for the conduct of an all-country poll on the Election Day.

CVU recalls that in early September similar initiatives were already considered in the Verkhovna Rada, however they were not adopted. Thus, draft law # 4043 “On amending the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Central Election Commission’ regarding public opinion polls” proposed to give the CEC the authority to organize the preparation and the conduct of public opinion polls in case the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution on holding such a poll. t was proposed to allow such polls on the day of voting in national or local elections. This bill was not passed by parliament and was widely criticized by relevant experts.

As of today it is not clear what particular legal mechanisms can be used for holding such polls: who will hold the polls, how the questions will be determined, in what way the poll procedure will be held, whether the poll will be held in or beyond the election precincts’ premises, what legal effects the poll’s results will have.

If members of polling station election commissions are involved in the poll, it will be contrary to the current legislation. The Electoral Code of Ukraine clearly sets out the set of procedures used for voting in local elections and defines the powers of members of election commissions. Given the fact that there are 12 days left until election day, any additional burden on commission members could potentially block the election process.

In addition, it is worth taking into account that in general holding such polls requires serious preparation, including regarding awareness building work among citizens. The voters should have enough time to make an aware choice on any issue, and supporters and opponents of different variants of poll questions should have the opportunity to conduct a campaign for or against this among citizens. In present conditions, it is impossible to adhere to the basic rules and this can be regarded as a manipulative technique and an attempt to influence the voting results.

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