The Central Election Commission approved the form, color, and text of ballot papers for voting on October 31 in single-member constituencies No. 184 and No. 197. Because there are candidates with identical names and surnames, the Commission decided to assign numbers to them on the ballot list. These numbers will not change even if the candidates are deregistered.
The decision was approved by the Commission at the CEC meeting on October 6.
According to CEC member, Serhiy Postovyi, the registration of candidates with the same names, and sometimes patronymics, may mislead voters and obstruct citizens' free exercise of their voting rights and the activities of other actors in the electoral process.
The CEC decision states that the legislation contains a mandatory but not exhaustive list of details to be contained in the ballot paper to be approved in terms of form, color, and text.
"Given the balance of interests of different actors in the election process, the Central Election Commission considers it an effective way to guarantee the active and passive suffrage, which will meet the basic principles of democratic elections, to approve the ballot paper template with serial numbers in the appropriate columns. It will make it easier for candidates to run their election campaigning, and for voters to make the informed choices,” says Serhiy Postivyi.
He also added that the serial numbers indicated in the ballot will not change, including after the Commission decides to cancel a candidate's registration.
Olga Aivazovska, OPORA Chair of the Board, reminded that the practice of registering same-name candidates who do not run an active election campaign began to appear after 2012.
"In any case, we understand that their participation does not contribute to the conscious choice of citizens; on the other hand, though, there are no legal conditions for their non-admission to the election campaign. In order to improve the practice, we have already proposed to consider the issue of sanctions for abuse of suffrage – during the 8th convocation of the parliament, and also during the 9th convocation. Everyone remembers Article 157, Part 1. Unfortunately, in the plenary room, they removed from it the liability of candidates, in contrast to those who encourage the abuse of rights through bribery (it falls under Article 160 of the Criminal Code). Accordingly, today it is impossible to legally prove the fact of violation committed by the candidate themselves. We need to look not for revolutionary, but rather for simple solutions that are feasible today. In fact, the Electoral Code to be used in the next parliamentary elections in 2023 (if everything runs within the Constitution) does not create any more such legal vacuum. We all understand that it is a new election system, within the regional constituency, and all candidates will have to be assigned with the appropriate numbers, whereas the law was passed 10 years ago. We may not even need to amend it, perhaps your practice will stimulate this positive process,” said Olga Aivazovska.
"We believe that such a decision should have been made long ago, regarding the practice of elections in single-mandate majority constituencies when the numbering should have been applied, especially when we see the abuse of rights happening. I hope, in 2019, it was the last time to apply a parallel election system with a single-mandate majority-based approach. We conducted a survey and found that about 200,000 votes were wasted due to erroneous voting for the same-name candidates who did not campaign and were unknown to voters," she added.
Therefore, the ballot paper for the elections in the two constituencies, in addition to numbering, will have a light purple color, and security features; and they will print 0.5% more pieces than the number of voters at the polling station.
Fifteen CEC members voted in favor of this decision, with one abstaining.