Representatives of non-governmental organizations have discussed on 13 November meeting with Central Election Commission members the possibility of creating an expert council with involvement of NGOs, cyber security, publication of election data in machine readable format, trainings for commission members, organization of a hot line, and live broadcasts of commission meetings.

Head of the Board of Civil Network OPORA Olha Aivazovska said that non-governmental organizations have already made some suggestions concerning transparency, openness and accountability of the Central Election Commission. In particular, they developed a Road Map for CEC Reform.

It would be great to create an expert council comprising non-governmental expert structures under the Central Election Commission, which would assess draft decisions, especially in sensitive matters. For example, there is a scientific expert office in Parliament, and we could create something similar for the CEC on voluntary basis. The sooner elections are, the more we need to involve NGOs, because the public, civil society, and the CEC all need as democratic, transparent, and high-quality elections as possible,” – Ms. Aivazovska said.

Olha Aivazovska had also mentioned the topic of election data, and that OPORA had already called on the CEC to publish them in machine readable format long time ago.

“When OPORA's representatives started to visit archives and obtain local election tabulation protocols, we noticed that a large quantity of protocols are questionable for us. The mandate distribution was also in question, because the CEC publishes only election outcomes, and omits all the statistical information, required for data analysis,” – she said.

Head of the CEC Tetiana Slipachuk has informed that the site is being reformed now on the final stage, there is also an ambitious goal to open a test mode to see whether it is in line with anticipations.

Besides that, she has mentioned that each CEC member supported cooperation with the public at public discussions, but it's necessary to find a mechanism for such cooperation under current legislation.

“We must understand what kind of cooperation it will be and how it will be carried out: under the legislation of some amendments should be introduced,” – Ms. Slipachuk said.

Representative of the CHESNO Civic Movement, Ihor Feshchenko asked to publish the procedure for verification of electoral funds of political parties, to submit propositions to it.

Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine has mentioned a problem – low quality of electoral matters in the legislation.

“The CEC appealed to the Verkhovna Rada in June this year concerning financing of cyber security. The draft law was adopted in the expediency of its adoption in the second reading is quite questionable. This situation can also happen with several other issues related to the election process,” – Oleksii Koshil said.

He suggested that CEC members should develop a draft law together with representatives of the public concerning the regulation of some non-contradictory matters. Oleksii Koshil also mentioned that there are problems with preparation of precinct election commission members, and shared his opinion on the creation of consultative hot line of the CEC and organization of public consultations at the level of precinct election commissions.

At the same time, Tetiana Slipachuk stated:

“Organization of the presidential election depends on cyber security, which requires some legislative changes. I have already said this on the roundtable for MPs and experts. We have the certain vision of changes, which should be mate to the legislation.”

CEC member Svitlana Kustova told there is a plan to conduct many trainings for territorial commission members in cooperation with international partners.

“We are developing materials and handbooks for DECs and PECs for the presidential election. We emphasize that the training should be organized for at least managing positions of precinct commissions. We also hope for cooperation with parties, because these are theirs people,” – Ms. Kustova said.

According to CEC member Leontii Shypilov, some materials are being developed for trainings of police officers, judges and bodies involved in election process.

Civil Network OPORA's Analyst Oleksandr Kliuzhev raised the question of information campaign about the change of voting location on presidential election.

“The number of citizens, who can use this procedure, has significantly increased. It is related not only to internal displacement from military operations area, but also to an increased migration. More and more people live outside of their registration address. However, there was no comprehensive informational campaign to explain the procedure. The citizens don't know about it, according to the last surveys,” – he said.

Mr. Kliuzhev has raised the issue of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, saying that the situation requires additional research in the light of presidential election, especially after elections in UTCs of Donetsk oblast were canceled for safety reasons.

The participants discussed how serviceman should vote at the front, how the CEC should communicate with territorial commissions and cooperate with the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) during an election campaign, and emphasized that announcements and agendas of meetings should be published in time.

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