Lowest turnout in 10 years due to weekend quarantine order
Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) Chairman Oleksiy Koshel noted that elections took place in seven city communities. In five of these communities, typical violations of electoral law were recorded, which did not significantly impact results. These included mistakes in commissions’ work, several examples of obstruction to observers’ work, including that of CVU observers, and illegal agitation. There was additional evidence in two communities of the use of technologies that could significantly impact the election results. In the community of Kramatorsk, CVU observers recorded five occurrences that may indicate the use of bribery technologies, namely photographing ballots and reporting on results.
According to O. Koshel, the turnout in the November 15 election was the lowest in 10 years. The main reason for such a low turnout was the weekend quarantine. Many voters did not understand whether it was possible to vote during the weekend quarantine. The same problem is expected in the November 22 elections. CVU experts stressed that the leadership of the Ministry of Health should inform voters about the observance of safety measures at polling stations, encourage voting, and conduct inspections of polling stations for thermometers, sufficient masks, disinfectants, etc.
O. Koshel added: “During the second round campaign, there were attempts to hold debates in most cities. However, a full-fledged debate only took place in Lutsk; in other communities, the debate took place with only one of the candidates’ participation. The Committee of Voters takes the following position: there must be provision for debates in the Electoral Code, as even the mention of debates encourages their organization. In the case of refusal, it should highlight political responsibility.
Negative PR became the main form of infringement on the eve of the second round of elections. In Odesa, there were attempts to divide voters into "black and white," with the main slogans: "Peace and stability, or war and destruction?". CVU recorded the facts of dark PR in Lutsk, where newspapers with false materials against one of the candidates were distributed. Illegal agitation in the second round was widespread and open. The Committee of Voters believes that this led to impunity, as there was a lack of sufficient precedents for prosecution.
The CVU also stressed the problem of obstruction to observers’ work on election day. The issue of non-compliance with anti-epidemic measures remains relevant.