ElectUA Registered Ukraine-wide Election Frauds Despite DDOS Attacks

October 26, 2012
Internews Ukraine, an Internews partner, released the following press release about ElectUA, a Ukrainian state-of-the-art civil society tool.

ElectUA (ElectUA.org), a Ukrainian state-of-the-art civil society tool to monitor election infringements, has executed a wide monitoring of the violations at the Ukrainian parliamentary elections, both before and during the vote.

Between early September 2012 and October 29th 2012, it received 1,640 messages from its local contributors about election fraud cases. The peak of this information was registered on the last day of the pre-election campaign, on 26 October, and on the voting day. On 28 October the ElectUA’s crowd-sourcing platform received 370 messages, accounting for 22,5% from the general number of all messages received by the project.

During the election campaign the project has registered the following typical violations :

  1. Violations of the work of the election commissions,
  2. infringement of pre-election canvassing rules, ‘black’ PR ;
  3. involvement of officials to, and their influence on, the election process, including their influence on voters;
  4. cases of bribery of voters;
  5. involvement of minors into the election campaign.

Infringements in the work of the election commissions has been a systemic violation, intrinsically linked to the use of the ‘administrative resource’, i.e. public authorities’ influence on the pre-election and voting process. This infringement has included the following practices:

  1. inclusion of the ‘dead souls’ (voters who died before the election) or inexistent persons, into the voters’ lists;
  2. barriers imposed for the work of the local election commissions by the local governance bodies in the case if the political views of the head of the commission don’t comply with the view of the local governance chief;
  3. exclusion of some members of the election commissions, upon a formal motivation ; however, their political representation has been the real reason behind this exclusion ;
  4. a practice of electing the disabled people as heads of the local election commissions. For example, in a village Buzhanka (Ivanichevsk rayon of the Volynska oblast) a blind person was appointed the head of the district election commission No 070161.

Involvement of officials to, and their influence on, the election process, including their influence on voters. This practice is not “innovative” for post-Soviet area, but the 2012 campaign showed symptoms of total and unmasked pressure of the officials at all levels. For example, ElectUA monitoring showed that an MP candidate Andriy Lopushansky (election district no 125) was openly supported by the mayor of Sambor town (Lvivska oblast), as the mayor joined the majority of the candidate’s meetings with the voters. Pre-election advertising of an MP candidate at the election district No 15 Mykola Dzhyga (the head of the regional state administration, nominated by the Party of the Regions), was placed by the workers of the territorial unit of Ukraine’s Ministry for Emergencies. Dozens of similar cases were registered by ElectUA across Ukraine.

Besides, the participants of the 2012 election campaign have also widely used practices of bribery of the voters. Majority of political forces have been distributing food among the least well-off citizens; in a village Chayka, Kyivska oblast, dwellers of houses and ‘Brest-Litovski’ residence complex were even invited to visit ‘free medical examination, upon the initiative of Petro Melnyk, a candidate MP on the election district no 95’.     

On the voting day the following infringements have been the most typical and massive:

  1. Carousels: the voters were suggested to vote, for remuneration, for a suggested party, and to provide evidence of their vote (a photo of the filled bulletin, etc) or throw an previously filled bulletin into the ballot box. The biggest number of cases was registered in the large residence districts of the cities and in rayon centres, for example in Kyiv suburbs Boyarka and Irpin. 
  2. Unclear situation with a mark ‘out of the election race’. The marks ‘out of the election race’ are used by the election commission to mark individual candidates or parties present in the bulletins but which no longer participate in the elections. However, in many cases this mark was not put against candidates who really left the election race, but instead put against candidates who were still present in the campaign. For example, in a village Kotivka, Gusiatinski rayon of the Ternopilska oblast, members of the local election commission No 610228 were putting stamps “out of the race” on the bulletins during the voting process.  
  3. Manipulations with voters’ lists. ElectUA registered cases when persons who have never lived on certain addresses were included into the voters’ list ; instead, the lists of persons voting at home were sometimes compiled with persons who didn’t apply for this service; some other voters who did apply to vote at home were denied to have this opportunity.
  4. Big problems on the election districts located in the medical institutions. The patients were facing pressure, barriers to vote (for example, less bulletins were supplied for a local election commission than the number of registered voters). For example, in Vinnytska regional TB hospital, which had 250 registered voters, only 90 bulletins were supplied.
  5. Barriers for the work of the election commissions after their closure, including throw-in of more bulleting into the ballot boxes after the closure of election commissions.

DDOS attacks on the web-site

28 October, the day of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, from 2:30 p.m. saw massive DDOS-attacks against the web sources of civil society organizations monitoring the election fraud. Websites of ElectUA.org, as well as OPORA’s election violation map and Maidan, were targeted by the attacks and were put down. It is evident that the attacks have been guided from Ukrainian territory, as the parts of the web sources placed on the Ukrainian servers have suffered most. The attacks continued repeatedly.

The civil society organizations have been working to restore web source’s technical capacities. All data on election fraud and abuses had been saved; the data submission methods remained unharmed. In particular, all mechanisms allowing for reporting on election fraud within the ElectUA.org project are still operational (Facebook questionnaire, Twitter, e-mail, telephone hot line), except online questionnaire on project’s website. Therefore all civil society organizations called to continue reporting on election fraud and abuses in the ordinary and usual course. Moreover, the project’s so-called “mirror” had been launched, and it could have been reached at electua.org.

Background: The goal of the ELECTUA.ORG project is to involve citizens, observers and stakeholders of the election process to register violations on the 2012 parliamentary elections and visualize the received data on the virtual map. The project is implemented by international NGO ‘Internews Ukraine’ in partnership with Ukraine’s Committee of voters, Civil society network Opora, Laboratory for legislative initiatives and the civic movement Chesno.

Contacts: Vitaliy Bokhniak, ElectUA Manager vbolkniak@internews.ua | Tel.: +38 044 458 44 40; +38 (050) 463 54 64