One vote at Ukraine’s by-election in five parliamentary single-mandate districts on Dec. 15 goes for Hr 400. Sometimes some food is thrown in. But the payment, cunningly, comes in two installments. The first half is paid when the person agrees to vote for the right candidate, and the other half is given after the voter presents photographic proof of the vote as they exit the polling station, Ukrainian observers have found. Ukraine is holding five by-elections to parliament today in those constituencies where fraud and manipulations were so high a year ago that the results could not be established. Those constituencies are located in Cherkasy, Kaniv, Pervomaisk, Obuhiv and in Kyiv. People in those voting districts are casting their votes in 649 polling stations. Political expert and pollster Iryna Bekeshkina says that vote buying cannot seriously influence the outcome of the election when there is a high turnout, but can effect the result in smaller towns and villages that get little attention. “And that’s exactly the case with today’s by-elections. People are concentrated on rallies and I expect no high turnout,” she said.
Mykhailo Okhendovskiy, head of the Central Election Commission, said that by noon, about 19.5 percent of those on the register, came out to vote. By comparison, at the regular elections last October the turnout was over 25 percent by the same time.
Bekeshkina said that even in Kyiv vote-buying might be a problem.
“We just witnessed an open vote buying at the polling district № 801046 at 51 Shcherbakova St. in Kyiv, a woman with a list of names was standing outside the building and waiting for voters, those who voted were marked with plus sign,” said Andriy Illenko, a Svoboda party member.
Full Article: Vote buying a major problem at Dec. 15 five by-elections.