Ukraine – The Commitee for Open Democracy announces its preliminary statement on the October 25, 2015 Ukrainian National Local Elections. While the pre-election environment and Election Day process proceeded in a comparable manner to 2014, the Local Elections in Odesa tarnished the democratic process.
COD was the third largest accredited international observation mission with 88 observers from 17 countries. The organization fielded observers in Kyiv, Rivne, Cherkasy and Odesa. Lithuanian Member of Parliament Dr. Mantas Adomenas and New York State Reprsentative William Nojay served as Co-Chariman of the delegation.
Observers noted numerous instances of carousel voting, multiple voting lists, exit poll workers agitating for candidates, lack of protocols and frequent refusals by commissioners to issue them to observers, bribing of voters by candidates, and too many ballots at some sites. “These problems call into question the accuracy of results” said Executive Director Brian Mefford. “If Ukraine is serious about real reforms and not cosmetic ones, then start by preventing fraudulent elections like those in Odesa” Mefford added.
“We call on law enforcement authorities to redouble efforts to prevent and punish fraud before the runoff on November 15. We will continue our observation in Odesa during the vote due to discrepancies the vote count and exit polls” said COD Vice Chairman Bruce Barcelo. A full statement and official report will be issued soon.
COD has observed 18 elections in 7 countries including Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia, Lithuania and Scotland since it was founded in 2010.