99,525 voters have changed their voting address to vote at their actual place of residence on 25 October. This was reported by OPORA with reference to the final data published by the State Register of Voters.
The largest number of voters who changed their voting address was recorded in the city of Kyiv, as well as Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts. 53,160 voters filed paper applications to the State Voter Register Maintenance bodies. 132 applications were rejected, and 53,028 approved. As for the electronic applications, voters filed 46,365 of them via the SVR online service. 4,432 applications were rejected and 41,933 satisfied.
2,162 voters who doesn't have a registration address applied to determine the place of their actual residence as their election address: 1,125 voters filed paper application (no rejections), 1,037 - electronic application (188 rejected, 849 approved).
This year, voters had an opportunity to change their election address and vote at their residence address, but not registration on 25 October, thanks to innovations in the Election Code of Ukraine. To change their election address, voters were required to submit the corresponding application to the State Voter Register maintenance body from 1 July to 10 September. The State Voter Register maintenance bodies had a deadline for consideration of these applications on 25 September. Thus, we can talk about the final figures now.
In contrast to a similar procedure, called "the change of voting location without a change of election address", which is not valid in local elections, the change of election address is a long-term setup. Thus, voters who have changed their voting election this time will be able to vote at their actual place of residence not only in 25 October local elections, but also in all subsequent elections without the need to submit additional applications. Re-application will be required only if the person changes the place of residence, but it is possible to do again not earlier than in a year after the previous change.
We would like to remind that around 6 million citizens may benefit from the procedure of changing the election address, namely internally displaced persons, so-called migrant workers, and persons who do not have a registration address. However, applications for the change of election address are accepted until the fifth day of the election process.
According to Article 8(2) of the Law of Ukraine on the State Register of Voters, election address of a voter coincides with his/her registration address, based on the Law of Ukraine on the Freedom of Movement and Free Choice of Residence in Ukraine, unless otherwise is provided by this article. Article 8(3) of the same Law says a voter may appeal to a State Voter Register maintenance body for a change his election address to another than is provided in Article 8(2). According to Article 20(4) of the Law on the State Voter Register, if a voter applies for the change of election address based on Article 8(3) of this Law, the application must include an address where he/she lives and which is required to be the new election address. However, the deadline for filing appeals on the change of election address (under Article 8(3, 4) of the Law of Ukraine on the State Register of Voters) has expired on 10 September 2020.
According to Article 20(1) of the Law, a voter may apply for the change of election address to a SVR maintenance body at his election address, via an application form for the change of his/her personal information in the register, provided by the register maintenance body, if his/her personal information, specified by Article 6(1) and 7(1,4), has changed. Such an application may be submitted to a SVR maintenance body personally or via a legitimate authorized person. Voters may also send the application electronically online using a signature, which is equal to a handwritten signature under the Law of Ukraine on Electronic Trust Services, following the procedure established by the SVR maintenance body. Such online application must contain e-mail address, used to send the applicant a notification in line with this Article.
We should also mention that the change of election address based on the change of registration address is also regulated by other legislation, and is realized on a regular basis regardless of election processes.
Besides that, there is a list of polls on website of the State Voter Register, which have in 15% more applications for the change of election address based on Article 9(3, 4) of the Law of Ukraine on the State Voter Register compared to the total number of voters at election precinct. OPORA's observers also reported abnormal numbers of the change of election addresses, particularly in Zaporizhia, Luhansk, Odesa and other oblasts. Such cases should be investigated by the National Police of Ukraine.
According to Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, deliberate provision or entering of false information to the State Voter Register database or other unauthorized use of State Voter Register database or interference in the work of the State Voter Register shall be punished with imprisonment for two to four years with deprivation of the right to hold the certain positions or engage in the certain activities for five years. Such actions committed repeatedly or in prior conspiracy by a group of persons or a member of an election or referendum commission abusing their office, a proxy of candidate for the President of Ukraine, a representative of a political party, a representative of a political party in the Central Election Commission, a proxy of political party or party cell's representative in an election commission, an authorized person of the subject of the all-Ukrainian referendum, a member of a referendum initiative group, a candidate, candidate's proxy, or if such actions have resulted in an impossibility to determine election outcomes at an election or referendum precinct, election or referendum, or in invalidation of election outcomes at an election or referendum precinct, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of seven to ten years with deprivation of the right to hold the certain positions or engage in the certain activities for five years.