The voting process on 29 November 2015 in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol passed quietly, in accordance with legislative requirements, and without systematic or centralized violations. We may say the same, with a few exceptions, about tabulation of votes at election precincts. However, there were some gross election law violations, particularly at polling station #141088 in Krasnoarmiisk, which must be immediately investigated by law-enforcement bodies in an unbiased manner.
Voters in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol demonstrated their interest to participation in local policy through election of local self-government bodies. According to calculations of observers, activeness of the voters in Krasnoarmiisk was 2.4% higher than nationwide percentage for 15 October, and 2.2 % higher in Mariupol. Activeness of the citizens, who didn't manage to elect local authorities on 25 October, proves that decisions and actions of the government concerning restoration of citizen voting rights were reasonable.
Observers deployed by OPORA and Donetsk Oblast Office of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine welcome comprehensive and operative efforts of law-enforcement bodies in Donetsk oblast, aimed to secure the rule of law and public order during local elections in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol. However, there were some cases when representatives of law-enforcement bodies failed to respond on violations. Thus, we informed officials of the National police and other law enforcement agencies about such incidents.
Observers noticed a number of minor procedural violations, which occurred because election commission members either knew the Law on Local Elections not very well, or chose to ignore its regulations. For example, one election commission in Krasnoarmiisk have detected in the process of vote count that some ballot papers have disappeared, and that there were discrepancies between the number of ballots, signatures in voter list, and counterfoils. Thus, the precinct election commission took a justified decision to declare the tabulation results invalid.
Preparatory meetings of PECs in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol had a usual problem – they began too early (earlier than 7:15 am). Such incidents were noticed at 16% polling stations in Mariupol and 8% in Krasnoarmiisk. Besides that, precinct election commissions didn't keep the minutes of their preparatory meetings at 5.6% polling stations in Krasnoarmiisk and 1.9% in Mariupol.
Minor violations were detected at 24.8% polling stations in Mariupol and 8.3% in Krasnoarmiisk from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on the election day. At the same time, observers had to apply to law-enforcement bodies concerning manipulations with ballot papers during the course of voting process.
Besides that, there were some voting secrecy violations noticed (in particular, voting outside polling booths) at 2.8% polling stations of Krasnoarmiisk and 1.8% of Mariupol. This percentage reached 9.2% during the second round on 15 November in Ukraine. The percentage of polling stations where voters took pictures of their ballots is similar: 2.8% in Krasnoarmiisk and 1% in Mariupol. There were no attempts to issue ballot papers without passport verification, ballot-box stuffing, or absence of citizens in voter lists during the election day in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol.
According to the assessment of observers, there were rare incidents of gross violations or attempts to distort election results during the election night count in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol.
All the PECs in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol started final meetings with the required quorums for tabulation of votes. At the same time, 3.7% of polling stations in Mariupol started their final PEC meetings with a delay, as long as they had ignored law requirement concerning the immediate start of the corresponding meeting after the election precincts are closed.
PECs at 5.7 % of polling stations in Krasnoarmiisk and 8.3 % in Mariupol considered complaints from electoral subjects before the vote count, what means that election participants actively challenged violations.
Precinct election commissions in these two cities of Donetsk oblast observed vote count procedures on 29 November, besides 1% of polling stations in Mariupol. Besides that, at 1% of polling stations in Mariupol observers were not able to see the marks on the ballot papers during the vote count at precinct election commissions.
At 2.9 % polling stations in Krasnoarmiisk and 0.9 % in Mariupol, PEC members included their dissenting opinions to tabulation protocols in mayoral elections. As for the election to local councils, PEC members included their dissenting opinions to tabulation protocols at 2.9% polling stations in Krasnoarmiisk and 1.8% in Mariupol. Dissenting opinion is documented comment of a PEC member concerning the content of tabulation protocol or violations that occurred during the voting process at a polling station.
At 3% of polling stations in Krasnoarmiisk, official observers didn't manage to receive copies of tabulation protocols despite they have such right. At 1% of polling stations in Mariupol, observers faced some difficulties in receiving copies of tabulation protocols for mayoral election.
During the vote count at polling station #141088 in Krasnoarmiisk, PEC members noticed that 329 ballot papers for mayoral election and 343 for election to city council had disappeared. Thus, the PEC took a justified decision to declare the voting at this polling station invalid. Prior to taking this decision, the PEC had noticed that there were 1124 counterfoils for mayoral election including 1 corrected (with a document proving that two counterfoils were accidentally removed with a ballot paper), 795 signatures of voters testifying that they had received ballot papers, and 943 unused ballot papers. The PEC, howerer, received 2,092 ballot papers for mayoral election. Similar discrepancies were also noticed in ballot papers for Krasnoarmiisk City Council election.
Observers of the OPORA and Donetsk Oblast Office of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine submitted two reports to law-enforcement bodies in Krasnoarmiisk concerning violations at this polling station that could be classified as criminal offenses, and insist on their efficient investigation. At the same time, the voting at PEC #141088 is not going to be taken into consideration in tabulation of results for local elections in Krasnoarmiisk.
PEC members had failed to fill in counterfoils, which are put into ballot boxes on preparatory meeting, correctly and, therefore 57 ballot papers were considered invalid at a special polling station in Mariupol (#142439). At the same time, district territorial commission in Mariupol is still planning to form its attitude to this decision of the PEC.
Problems with counterfoils had also occurred at a number of polling stations in Mariupol and, therefore, all the circumstances should be investigated to understand whether law violations were purposefully directed to distort the election results.
According to observers, election commissions in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol have all opportunities and conditions for proper determination of election results. Electoral subjects should be motivated to use judicial and extrajudicial means of appealing against or refuting election law violations to law-enforcement bodies.
Table 1. Activeness of the voters in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol at national level. Data gathered by observers
|Krasnoarmiisk||Mariupol||National percentage 10/25/2015||Repeat voting 11/15/2015|
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Civil Network OPORA has been conducting since 5 September citizen observation campaign of local elections in Ukraine scheduled for 25 October, 15 and 29 November 2015. Civic monitoring conducted by OPORA - is a type of network activity, aimed at impartial assessment of the preparation and conduct of elections, as well as preventing electoral violations through comprehensive civic action. OPORA will also conduct a parallel vote tabulation at all polling stations in Krasnoarmiisk, as well as qualitative observation at most of polling stations in Mariupol. Follow the latest news on OPORA's website and Map of Violations “2015 Local Elections”. We recommend that every observer, journalist and active citizen downloads application “Local Elections” for Android.