In the first hours of the second round in seven cities of Ukraine, the election process had low voter turnout, but held in accordance with legal procedures and in a conflict-free atmosphere.
As well as at the time of morning meetings and the opening of polling stations, OPORA's observers do not detect obvious and repeated abuses that could negatively affect the election results. Some cases that have features of significant procedural violations occurred at 0.76% of polling stations. Minor issues with the organization of the election process were detected at 14.5% of polling stations in all regions where the voting takes place on November 15. As of 12:00, there were no attempts of ballot box staffing. This is a positive sign at this stage, as the presence of such a serious type of violation may later become a ground for invalidating the vote at polling station, which may have a significant impact on election outcomes in the context of low turnout.
According to OPORA's observers, the most frequent procedural violations are attempts to disclose the secret vote by a voter via showing a ballot paper or filling it outside of a voting booth. Thus, such incidents occurred at 2.29% of polling stations. At 1.53% of polling stations, voters took pictures of ballots after voting.
Although the voting process has been significantly simplified compared to the first round (due to fewer simultaneous elections and ballots), and some members have gained experience in the first round of voting, there are still some problems with handing ballots to voters. According to observers, 6.11% of polling stations had some cases of improper issuance of ballots, particularly without verification of documents (a passport, for example).
OPORA has deployed observers to 133 polling stations, located evenly throughout the country. Before the observation, OPORA held 2 rounds of trainings and special Election Day simulations, involving possible situations and incidents. The observers are deployed based on random stratified sampling. The maximum margin of error for this report is below 6.86%. OPORA's statistically based observation is an independent activity, realized exclusively by OPORA, aimed to provide Independent information on the course of election.
As of 12 PM, OPORA's observers reported on more than 60 incidents involving violation of electoral legislation.
Threat to an observer's safety and obstruction of documenting a violation
In Sumy, at 8:35 AM the whole PEC at polling station #590902 reacted negatively to the fact that an observer demanded the minutes of the preparatory (morning) meeting, which the commission did not keep. The commission also demanded that the observer did not report the violation and accused her of trying to disrupt the election.
Restriction, removal from a polling station, obstruction of movement
There were 5 cases were recorded in total (3 related to the restriction on attendance of observer, 2 - obstruction of observation).
Thus, the observer was not allowed to enter the premises of special polling station #071104 due to the absence of a seal on the PCR test certificate for SARS-CoV-2. Such actions are illegal based on the following: 1) the legislation does not have any requirements for the form of such certificate; 2) the requirement for PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 is not provided by the election legislation, and according to the CEC resolution #409 of 22 October 2020 the provision of such a certificate with a negative result is only a recommendation. Thus, the commission acted contrary to Article 36(8) of the Election Code, which defines requirements for the presence of an official observer in the polling station during the voting, which does not include the presence of such a certificate without a seal (or its absence at all). It should be mentioned that all observers of Civil Network OPORA, deployed to special election precincts, have passed PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 and have the results at sites.
An observer was not allowed to attend the morning meeting at polling station #590993 in the city of Sumy. The refusal was based on the fact that his accreditation was dated of 17 October, indicating that observers must be registered before the vote. The electoral legislation, however, doesn't have such a requirement.
At polling station #511157 in Odesa, an observer was denied access to the premises where the preparatory meeting was taking place. However, she was allowed to attend after the police response;
Two attempts to restrict observer rights were detected at polling station #141054 in Kramatorsk, located in the premises of the Municipal Non-Profit Enterprise "Psychiatric Hospital of Kramatorsk". Initially, there were attempts to restrict observer's right to photograph, explaining that the law prohibits taking pictures of patients. However, they are voters at a polling place, and observer's right to photograph is restricted only by a ban on disclosure of the ballot secrecy. At the same polling station, an observer was asked to leave the premises during the sanitation, while some members of the election commission were to remain inside, and the observer defended his right to stay in the polling station.
Voting without documents
There were 3 such cases (ballots were issued without verification of documents specified by the Code):
- PEC members regular polling station #511178 in Odesa issued a ballot on the basis of an international passport and a military ID instead of a national (internal) passport of a citizen of Ukraine.
- In the village of Zhukivka (Obukhiv raion, Kyiv oblast) two commission members at polling station #320748 voted without documents. After the observer's remark, they showed passports.
- In polling station #681370 (Kamianets-Podilskyi), commission members issued ballot papers after verification of an international passport.
Demonstration of a marked ballot by a voter
At polling station #511308 in Odesa, two voters filled out ballots at a table near commission members and gave these ballots to an acquaintance to throw in the ballot box, but they were not wrapped and he saw how they voted.
Taking pictures of ballot papers
At polling station #511188 in Odesa, observers detected two cases of voters taking pictures of their ballots in ballot booths.
Presence of unauthorized persons
An employee of the Ministry for Emergencies was present in polling station #511247 in Odesa. The Commission Head allowed the Ministry employee to be present and registered him as an observer.
Campaigning on the Election Day
A representative of the NGO "This place is for us to live" polled people who had already voted, on the street near polling stations #650768 and #650740 in Kherson. At the same time, the observer noticed that there were candidates from the political party "This place is for us to live" in the ballot. This is a direct relation of the NGO to the political party and, therefore, is a sign of an administrative offense under Article 212-10 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. The observer was advised to call the police to draw up an administrative report on the campaigner.
Non-compliance with PEC material and technical requirements
This type of violation is the most common, as a total of 25 incidents were recorded, and the vast majority concerned the inaccessibility of the polling station for voters with disabilities. There was also a lack of a specially designated ballot box and voting booth for persons with respiratory disease symptoms or fever.
- 8 incidents of issuing ballots by only one PEC member instead of two;
- at polling station #320767 in the city of Ukrainka (Obukhiv raion, Kyiv oblast), commission members took a ballot box for voting at home and an excerpt from the voter list. They went to collect votes from people voting at home, and returned an hour later. According to them, one person was not included in the excerpt for voting at home. Thus, they added this person to the excerpt and left to collect this vote again;
- PEC members from polling station #071096 in Lutsk left some ballots in a safe;
- unknown persons polled the voters on how they voted near the premises of polling stations #650647 and #650674 in Kherson;
- each voter at special polling station #590996 in the elderly house vote at the place of stay. The observer cannot observe because she does not have a protective suit. Some of the elderly there can't move, others can but the house restricted their move between floors, allowing to move only within one box, due to the quarantine.
- at polling station #320767 in the city of Ukrainka (Obukhiv raion, Kyiv oblast), commission members draw up protocols during voting;
- the minutes of PEC morning meeting at three polling stations were not kept, particularly #71036 in the village of Velykyi Omelianyk, Lutsk raion, Volyn oblast (the violation was eliminated at the request of the observer), #590902 in Sumy, and #71044 in Lutsk;
- PEC members at polling station #511247 in Odesa opened a ballot box safe before the preparatory meeting;
- at polling station #320767 in the city of Ukrainka (Obukhiv raion, Kyiv oblast), a commission member filled in the ballot paper in advance - entered the surname. The observer made a remark, and the violation was eliminated;
- morning meeting began earlier than the time set by the Election Code (before 7:15 AM) in the city of Ukrainka, Obukhiv raion, Kyiv oblast, at polling station #320772 and in Odesa at polling station #511148 (the meeting started at 7:10 AM).;
- the vote started with a delay in Kramatorsk PEC at polling station #141054 opened the voting at 8:12 AM; in Sumy the delay occurred in special station #590996;
Failure to comply with COVID-19 requirements
PEC members at polling station #71082 stayed in the polling place without masks. There is no separate ballot box for voters with signs of respiratory disease in the premises of polling station #590902 in Sumy.