CEC will print 1.5 mn more ballots than during the presidential elections

CEC will print 1.5 mn more ballots than during the presidential elections
For the next parliamentary elections a decision was made to print a reserve of voting ballots
Photo: Reuters

The Central Election Commission of Ukraine passed a decision to print the same number of ballots that were printed for the previous parliamentary elections, including for Crimea and the Donbas region. The CEC promises that additional ballots will not be transferred to regions that are not controlled by Ukraine. However, the election procedure in problematic constituencies has not been 100% defined.

Virtual votes

1.5 mn more ballots will be printed for the snap elections to the Verkhovna Rada than for the last presidential elections. This is corroborated by the data of the Central Election Commission. Indeed, prior to the presidential elections 34.693 mn ballots were printed, while the approximate number of voters in single-mandate constituencies for the upcoming parliamentary election campaign will be 36.257 mn. These figures totally correspond to the number of ballots that the CEC printed for the elections to the VR in 2012.

Member of the CEC Oleksandr Shelestov, who is managing the commission’s work in the Donetsk oblast, told Capital that a decision was made to print ballots taking into account voters in Crimea. “This was a political decision to include Crimean voters on the ballots. We used the data from the previous elections. We are printing these ballots, but they will not be made available to them,” he assured.

While the fact that elections will not be held in Crimea is understood, the number of ballots for voters in the Donbas region is at this point not clear. Shelestov said the number of ballots that will be sent to the Donbas will be determined after The State Security Service (SBU) presents a special bulletin regarding the number of districts that are capable of receiving voters. “This issue will be resolved on the eve of the elections and we will make a decision from Thursday to Saturday prior to them,” Shelestov specified.

Coordinator of the election program of the civil network OPORA Olha Aivazovska believes the issuing of additional ballots does not pose a risk of the results of voting being distorted. “Additional ballots are only necessary to replace ballots that for different reasons are lost or may be destroyed on the evening before the day of the elections,” Aivazovska told Capital.

Earlier, Head of the CEC Mykhailo Okhendovskiy informed that of the 3.4 mn voters registered in the Donetsk oblast approximately 1.46 mn will be able to vote at their place of residence. In the Luhansk oblast around 560,000 residents of the total 800,000 will be able to vote at their place of residence.

Low turnout

Deputy Chair of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) in the Luhansk oblast Iryna Chornobai predicted for Capital that the turnout of voters at the elections in their region will be low. “The majority of them will refuse to come out and vote, meaning that the turnout will clearly be low,” she said. Spokesman of the CVU in the Donetsk oblast Oleksandr Ivanov also presumes that the turnout of voters will be low. In connection with this, he expects that candidates running in the elections will attempt to artificially increase turnout. “For example, people will be offered free transportation to the voting stations in order to cast their vote. “This is the same technique that was used to increase turnout at the previous elections,” he says.

Candidate of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (PPB) Oleksandr Chernenko does not rule out the attempt to stuff the ballot boxes. “In conditions of competition that we are observing today in the elections between former members of the Party of Regions, there will certainly be attempts to tamper the voting results. Delay in the vote count and stuffing of ballot boxes are highly possible. At the moment, there is a battle for members of the commission that will be outbid,” said Chernenko.

Aivazovska said OPORA registered cases in which certain district election commissions that were responsible for holding elections in constituencies have to this day not even held a meeting. “On paper they exist, but in truth they do not. Such cases were registered in Constituency No. 53. This means that elections there will be purely virtual and the trust in their results will be extremely low,” she explained.

Noteworthy, Constituency No. 53 is on the list of those election districts the center of which was relocated by the CEC because a part of its territory is controlled by illegally armed formations. According to information that Ivanov possesses, the situation is similar in the Donetsk oblast in three constituencies, which the Ukrainian authorities only partially control. In his turn, Head of the Luhansk Oblast State Administration Hennadiy Moskal appealed to the Central Election Commission with a proposal to temporarily transfer the elections to Constituency No. 104 until the Anti-terrorist Operation is complete.

Moreover, Shelestov admitted that on the territories currently controlled by the self-proclaimed republics a number of district election commissions have been created. This is not only about the district election commissions in controversial districts. “However, what is meant by this are virtual commissions from which only certain units can be convened. We have not intent of transferring to them voting ballots,” Shelestov assured.

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