Involvement of district administrations in electoral commission fiddles
Civic activists in different parts of Ukraine report worrying cases of flagrant interference by state administrations aimed at ensuring that the members of electoral committees are people dependent on those now in power or bribed. Oleksandr Stepanenko, Head of Helsinki Initiative XXI and a member of the board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, writes about examples from his area.
One such case was seen in Territorial Electoral Commission No. 167 for the Chortkiv single-mandate electoral district.
On 18 September which was the last day that the TEC was accepting documents, between 23.25 and midnight there was an attempt to submit a large number of packets of documents for members of Precinct Electoral Commissions from the Party of the Regions and other parties, most of whom do not have branches in any of the oblast’s districts.
The TEC members say that around 30 packages with documents were prepared by staff from the District Administration and brought to the TEC during that period, from 23.30 to 24.00. Some of the packets were submitted without copies of passports being added.
Documents from 8 parties were “registered” on 19 Sepptember already, after 24.00.
There are also accounts of similar cases where the state administrations have interfered in the work of the TEC in other districts of the oblast.
In the case of the TEC for No. 167 District, documents for members of electoral commissions were brought by drivers from neighbouring district administrations. At first the drivers turned, a bit lost, to the TEC, but then went to hand over their useless papers to the Chortkiv District Administration.
Some members of the TEC are writing complaints to the Central Election Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office. Obviously though the CEC is not about to deal with a large number of attempts to manipulate the work of electoral commissions and it appears that the police are also avoiding reacting to such cases.