Controversial allegations over extra ballot papers in Odessa -
International Observer alleges quarter of a million extra ballot papers in Odessa. According to spokesperson for the Committee for Open Democracy, Brian Mefford, 1 million ballot papers have been printed on commission from the Odessa Territorial Electoral Commission [TEC] “which is more than a quarter of a million more than the number of voters in Odessa”/
Mr Mefford says that this is a violation of legislation. While a certain number of extra ballot papers are allowed for, such a surplus raises question marks about the real motives of the TEC.
He points out that there have been similar cases of excessive number of ballot papers in Kharkiv and Ivano-Frankivsk.
This was Mr Mefford’s second public statement and he is planning to hold a press conference in Odessa on 29 October.
He considers the pre-election situation in Odessa to be the worst since 2002: there is a real threat that these local elections will be a serious step backwards for Ukrainian democracy.
While expressing the hope that the local authorities and electoral commissions will do all in their power to rectify the problems, he says that, in the light of the situation, the Committee for Open Democracy has decided to send most of its observers to Odessa.
The Information agency UNIAN reports comment from the Director of the Agency for Modelling Situations, Oleksy Holubutsky, who says that the issue of election rigging via extra ballot papers is being used both by the opposition and the government. He claims that Mr Mefford is using the issue of extra ballot papers and points out that the figure of 250 thousand extra ballot papers originally came from the team of the present Mayor Edward Hurvich. Mr Holubutsky asserts that Brian Mefford awarded Hurvich title of “Hero of Democracy two years ago.”
Reported by UNIAN