The electoral (infringement) map – UkraineOctober 27, 2014
Having mentioned electoral law infringements several times recently, it is perhaps wise to look at those infringements on a national basis, region by region.
Firstly there is this map relating to the lead up to today’s elections – input ending at yesterday’s legally imposed purdah. It lists 2331 infringements of electoral law between 22th September and 26th October.
Then there is this map, leading up to, and including polling day. It lists a total of 587 (and counting).
A difference at the time of writing of 1744 electoral infringements – though that discrepancy will decrease as the day goes on (unfortunately) – in part due to the SBU asking voters who witness infringements to photograph/video and upload any incidents for further investigation. The police asking the public to help them police – quite rightly.
The second map clearly has far more correlation to the number of formal complaints submitted to the authorities and courts for investigation and subsequent ruling – as an example, this historical entry of a few days ago stated 15 such pending cases in Odessa – the second map listing 13 infringements, rather than the first map that cites 393 infringements for the Odessa Oblast.
Leaving aside the due diligence in corroboration of any claimed infringement by collating entities, as infringements can take many forms – innocent and/or genuine administrative blunders, deliberate administrative manipulation, the employment of administrative resources to support a candidate or party over another, corporate coercion, group or individual bribery/intimidation of voters, candidates, campaign staff, election commission personnel, observers and media etc – to far more minor issues such as forgetting to remove a photograph of the president in a polling station (an infringement far less likely to change the vote of any constituent, or effect any election commission shenanigans during vote counts) – the scope for deliberately, innocently, accidentally, or maliciously bending or breaking the electoral law is broad indeed – and not confident to either the lead up to polling day, nor polling day itself, but both (and perhaps a few days afterward too).
Thus, whilst the number of electoral law infringements will naturally catch the eye, perhaps what on-lookers should deliberate further, is the nature and intent behind each infringement in and of itself – together with that infringement’s ability to influence or change the actual vote both of the individual, and the possible collective effect in the overall results.
In short, whilst it would be possible for the number of infringements recorded to go up, the number of serious and vote changing incidents may actually go down – or vice versa – and that is based upon the presumption that the recording mechanisms remain constant.
As is historically the case with elections in Ukraine, most infringements occur either during the election campaigns prior to polling day, or after the polling stations have closed via corrupted election commissions or ballot boxes mysteriously disappearing for a period of time.
We shall see what today brings. Probably a majority coalition of Block Poroshenko, People;s Front and Self Help, but it is the single mandate (first past the post) seats that are going to be the most interesting (not only through the high number of infringements they always produce) but in the overall makeup of the new RADA.
Notwithstanding that, there are a significant number of local elections also held today – and if “decentralisation” realises itself per the presidential plan/promise, then local government will have a far more significant role.
Before signing off for the day – a note of thanks to the thousands of international and domestic election observers need be, and indeed is, offered.