FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Ukraine Election Update
For those following along, Ukraine is set to have their historically democratic parliamentary vote on Sunday. As previously noted, the parliament of Ukraine recently adopted a new electoral law that changes their voting to a mixed system. 250 members of parliament will be elected by party list and the other 250 members will be candidates representing districts.
Mikhail Okhendovskyy, a member of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission (think FEC), has assisted with the elections in Ukraine since 2004 and recently wrote about the upcoming elections on RealClearWorld. In his post, Okhendovskyy reiterates that having a free and fair election that is in line with international standards is of the utmost importance to his young, Democratic country. In 2010, Ukraine held only their 5th presidential election since their 1991 independence from the Soviet Union.
Today, Okhendovskyy spoke with RedState and others about the final preparations that are taking place in his country to ensure a smooth election process. He clarified that, while the mixed voting system is a change for the people of Ukraine, it is not one with which they are unfamiliar; the same system was used in 1998 and 2002. The elections after those years, when they switched to a party list voting only system, were wrought with issues however, and the Ukrainian people began to doubt the validity of the results. As a result of the past election issues, Ukraine elected to go back to a mixed voting system and have made many improvements to the process.
The installation of web cameras at every polling station is probably the most modern update to the Ukraine voting system. Said Okhendovskyy, not only will the cameras help people feel confident about the results, as the counting process will also be recorded, but any potential complaints can be dealt with in a trustworthy manner. They have employed a new voter registration system that updates automatically so each vote is only counted once. Citizens living abroad, of which there are 439,000, will also be included in the process and will be able to vote by party list. There have been no systematic violations reported thus far and 3,800 international observers have been registered to be in polling stations across the country. As for how the people of Ukraine are responding, Okhendovskyy stated that the general attitude can be described as positive both towards the process and the observers.
Today was the final day of the campaigning in Ukraine. All and all, it would appear the event has been well prepared for and should be another successful step toward Ukraine joining the European Union.