Appointment of early mayoral election in Kryvyi Rih is the result of a political and legal compromise, aimed to stop confrontations between electoral subjects on the repeated 15 November 2015 election.

The legal mechanism, chosen by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, didn't provide a premature withdrawal of the Mayor, who was acknowledged to be a winner of 2015 election by the TEC. This questionable precedent hazards securing equal rights and opportunities principle. Besides that, new conditions, favorable for misuse of administrative resources, have appeared.

Political context of solving the conflict that appeared in 15 November 2015 repeated election has influenced both motivation of the voters to participate in early election of Kryvyi Rih city mayor, and electoral strategies of parties and local political leaders. Citizens of Kryvyi Rih have wide range of candidates to vote for (15), which had significantly changed if compared to 2015 regular elections.

Thus, the voter turnout in 27 March 2016 early mayoral election in Kryvyi Rih was quite high. According to OPORA's data, it has increased in over 16% compared to the repeated voting held on 15 November 2015 (55.4% and 39.2% respectively). Such increase is not only due to the public resonance around peculiarities of appointment and conduct of the corresponding election, but also because of highly active campaigning efforts of candidates followed by strong conflicts.

Although increased activeness of the voters on 27 March 2016 will be favorable for stabilization of further activities of local self-government bodies in Kryvyi Rih, OPORA would like to stress the importance of organized transportation of voters to polling stations. Such transportation have sighs of artificial mobilization of the voters and could influence the general percentage of voter turnout.

According to the Law of Ukraine on Local Elections, the voters may vote at a polling station from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM or at a place of stay if such need is substantiated. These mechanisms secure practical realization of the constitutional right to elect local self-government bodies and are available for each citizen. Of course, access to polling stations may be complicated due to the territorial or other peculiarities, but such problems should be solved by changing the boundaries of temporary polling stations, or general improvement of transport connections in territorial communities by local authorities.

OPORA is convinced that such organized transportation of voters brings the risks of misuses by organizers, particularly illegal campaigning and/or voter bribery. Transportation of the voters in Kryvyi Rih was organized by a local association of veterans, headed by a person who participated in campaigning efforts of current Mayor and self-nominated candidate Yurii Vilkul. According to the Law of Ukraine on Local Elections, this organization doesn't have any authority in the election process, including assistance in practical realization of voting rights.

Active interaction between the voters and unauthorized subjects during the voting and directly related to the voting process is not acceptable and should be studied by law enforcement bodies to check whether there is any illegal campaigning, voter bribery or other violations present during transportation of voters to polling stations. OPORA is convinced that law enforcement bodies make not enough effort in response to transportation of voters and determination of all circumstances.

Civil Network OPORA informs that 27 March 2016 early mayoral election in Kryvyi Rih and vote count at polling stations were organized and held properly. Violations that official observers detected at election commission level were not systematical, and had no influence of legitimacy of the election and vote count processes at polling stations.

Gross violations at polling stations occurred rarely and don't have signs of a centralized influence on election results.

OPORA calls on candidates and other electoral subjects to report electoral violations in time if they are properly documented and refrain from making any unverified statements about any issues in the election process. Electoral standards provide both prompt legal response to any detected violations and respect to every voter participating in the election.

At the same time, law enforcement bodies in the city should secure proper investigation of violations reported in early election of Kryvyi Rih city mayor. OPORA suggests the MIA of Ukraine to provide more personnel for local law enforcement bodies and secure proper oversight of their activities.

Statistics on typical violations, detected during the voting process and vote count

Civil Network OPORA conducted observation based on statistical representation sampling in early election of Kryvyi Rih city mayor. Observers watched adherence to all electoral procedures at preparatory meetings of PECs, opening of polling stations, voting process, vote count and receiving of electoral documents from precinct election commissions on TEC meeting. Violation statistics and incidents were summarized as of 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 8:00 PM and after the tabulation process.

All the precinct election commissions in the country conducted preparatory meetings, and gathered quorum (more than half of total commission membership). All the election precincts were opened on time. OPORA's observers have reported that almost all (98.8%) PECs provided them with opportunity to conduct a comprehensive observation of all election procedures on morning meetings and the beginning of voting process. 3.8% precinct election commissions in Kryvyi Rih didn't keep the minutes of preparatory meetings. However, such percentage in within limits of statistical error. There were no incidents related to disappearance of PEC seals and damage or disappearance of electoral documents from safes.

The voting process was calm, and observers of the Civil Network OPORA haven't noticed any systematic misuses or gross procedural violations of electoral legislation.

However, organized transportation of voters to polling stations (over 14 incidents) was detected on the election day. Although such incidents are not classified as violations, they open the doors for illegal influence on the voters. Besides that, transportation of voters, or free transportation services, may be considered voter bribery if combined with campaigning. Such actions are be punished under the Criminal Code by up to three years of restriction of liberty or deprivation of liberty for the same period with no right to hold the certain positions or be involved into the certain activities from one to three years.

Observers have also noticed that a voter received some money after voting (at PEC #121627, located in School #59, Inhuletskyi district). OPORA's observers detected at polling station #121524 pre-signed precinct tabulation protocols. There were twenty pre-signed protocols on table of the Head of PEC #121524. There were no seals, but signatures of the Head, Deputy Head and Secretary were there.

Besides that, minor violations of electoral procedures and minor mistakes made by election commission members did regularly occur at polling stations. Such incidents were detected at 22.5% election precincts in the morning (as of 12:00 PM) and at 12.5% election precincts in the last hours (from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM). For example, the following incidents occurred: no stamp on a control sheet; different number of ballot papers in the excerpt and those handed for voting at place of stay; pens with disappearing ink etc. Most of similar incidents were reported in protocols of electoral law violation and settled after interference and remarks of civic observers. The total number of minor violations has increased compared to the second round of mayoral election in Kryvyi Rih.

However, there were less attempts to take picture of ballot papers or violate the voting secrecy in comparison to the second round. Thus, voters took pictures of ballot papers at 2.5% of polling stations from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and there were no such incidents in evening hours (compared to 3.8% in the second round). Violation of the voting secrecy was detected from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM only at of 1.5% polling stations. This percentage is within the statistical error.

There were no other significant violations that could influence the election outcomes. Thus, there were no incidents involving issuance of ballots without passport verification, ballot-box stuffing, obstruction to activities of observers or journalists, direct voter bribery.

The number of complaints received on the beginning of evening meeting has decreased in comparison to the second round of voting from 5.4% of polling stations to 2.5%. Commissions generally adhered to the vote count procedures, but some inaccuracies and mistakes were detected at 5% of polling stations. Most of these violations were eliminated on after observers insisted.

Voter turnout on the Election Day (calculated by the OPORA)

Under the observation campaign, Civil Network OPORA conducted the parallel turnout tabulation. We collected the data as of 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM from polling stations where official observers of Civil Network OPORA were deployed in accordance with the representative sampling for Kryvyi Rih.

As of 4:00 PM, voter turnout in in early election of Kryvyi Rih city mayor reached 55.4% (margin of error 1.1%). Voter turnout at 12:00 PM reached 23.7% (margin of error 1.1%), and 44.9% at 4:00 PM (margin of error 1.1%).

Voter turnout in early election of Kryvyi Rih city mayor was unprecedentedly high. To compare, it reached 39.2% in the repeated election of Kryvyi Rih city mayor held on 15 November 2015.

Results of parallel vote tabulation

Results, % Results, % Margin of error, % Minimum value Maximum value
Boichenko Oleh Petrovych 1.0% 0.09% 0.9% 1.0%
Vilkul Yurii Hryhorovych 74.1% 1.11% 73.0% 75.2%
Kolesnyk Mykola Yuriiovych 4.3% 0.23% 4.1% 4.6%
Kryzhov Oleksandr Volodymyrovych 0.4% 0.06% 0.3% 0.5%
Levytskyi Ihor Vasyliovych 2.6% 0.22% 2.4% 2.8%
Semenchenko Semen Ihorovych 10.9% 0.56% 10.4% 11.5%
Sova Svitlana Mykolaivna 4.8% 0.34% 4.4% 5.1%
Other 1.9% 0.15% 1.7% 2.0%

Civil Network OPORA conducted statistically based observation based on sampling within a one single-mandate district. Representative data on adherence to procedures and voter turnout, gathered by observers, was promulgated at 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 8:00 PM and after the vote count. OPORA's data has a margin of error because observation coverage was not 100% but based on statistical sampling. After processing of protocols from polling stations, where Civil Network OPORA NGO deployed specially trained observers, tabulation results are also verified before promulgation. It became possible thanks to active citizen oversight if the voting process and vote count. The margin of error is 1.1%.