Signatories of this statement express their concern about a possible pilot online voting in local elections.
We believe that it is too early to conduct such testing. Piloting this technology without sufficient training can damage the integrity and success of the election process. We believe that the Ministry of Digital Transformation should not continue the experiment until a full cycle of consultations with stakeholders is realized. These consultations should involve civil society, election managers and international experts, as a responsible path to digitalization of elections in Ukraine.
We also call on the Government of Ukraine to ensure the leading role of the CEC in the discussion of prospects for the introduction of new technologies in the election process. It is also reasonable to timely inform the Parliament about any plans in digitalization of elections.
Based on a wide-scale study of Ukraine’s and international experience of online voting, we believe that this piloting is premature for the following reasons:
- Ukraine does not have the necessary technological infrastructure to conduct an effective pilot online voting.
- Besides that, there is a high risk of technical failures and cyberattacks, especially in the context of the ongoing military conflict, recent leaks of personal information from state registers and the experience of complex cyberattacks in Ukraine.
- To implement online voting successfully, we need to have an e-government system that has already won the public confidence, as well as full technological coverage and the corresponding infrastructure throughout the country. Ukraine does not have this confidence, nor does it have a sufficiently digitized identification system.
- Online voting is mainly distrusted by voters and politicians. As a result of this distrust, citizens may refuse to recognize the results of online voting, especially if those who lose the election accuse the system of falsification or manipulation.
- If there are differences in election outcomes for those using the online system and those voting at election precincts, running this pilot simultaneously with on-site voting in local elections may cause disputes over the election results. Based on the best practices, piloting is initially realized in-between elections, to avoid confusion. The first test must not be conducted during a real local election.
- Failing this pilot will result in negative consequences for any other e-democracy initiatives in Ukraine, which citizens may lose confidence in.
We believe that currently the risks of implementing such technologies far outweigh any possible benefits. Public confidence in the legitimacy and transparency of the election process is a top-priority.
In our opinion, any experiment should have a clear goal solving a specific problem that really bothers the society, and a scale allowing evaluation of its effectiveness.
We want Ukraine to be able to maintain a high level of its electoral processes in accordance with international and European standards.
Given the critical importance of the above, we call on the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine to postpone the announced pilot and hold additional transparent and comprehensive public consultations with all election stakeholders involved before returning to the implementation of online voting in Ukraine.
- Civil Network OPORA;
- International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Ukraine;
- Khorol Civil Association of Persons with Disabilities;
- “HRUPA VPLYVU” Civil Holding NGO;
- CHESNO Civic Movement;
- Center for Political and Legal Reforms;
- Young Cherkashyna NGO;
- Joint Action Center NGO;
- "Razom" NGO;
- All-Ukrainian information and analytical publication for local self-governments "Local Government";
- Donetsk Institute for Social Research and Political Analysis NGO;
- "Community Fund of Cherkasy" Cherkasy City NGO; • Poltava City Association of Persons with Disabilities "Vira" NGO;
- "Tochka Dostupu" NGO;
- All-Ukrainian publication on civil service and service in local self-government bodies "Civil Servant";
- Kirovohrad Association "Public Initiatives";
- Human Rights Platform NGO
- Ukrainian Center for Public Data NGO;
- Kherson Community Foundation "Zakhyst" Charitable Organization;
- Vinnytsia Press Club AU NGO;
- "Our Podillya" NGO;
- "Integrity UA" NGO;
- Institute of Civic Action, Education and Development NGO;
- Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research;
- "Freedom Space" Movement;
- Kherson Oblast Organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine;
- Odessa Oblast Organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine;
- Women's Consortium of Ukraine;
- "Zakarpattia-Donbas" NGO;
- "Republic" Institute;
- Committee of Voters of Ukraine All-Ukrainian NGO;
- "Fight for Rights" NGO;
- Kolping Ukraine NGO;
- Bakhmut City Association of Persons with Disabilities "Nadiia" NGO;
- Lviv Educational Center for Human Rights NGO;
- Center for Social Innovation NGO;
- Center for Political Analysis and Electoral Consulting NGO;
- Center for Public Opinion Monitoring "Trend" NGO.
If your organization would like to join the list of signatories to this statement, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.