Is it possible to avoid falsifications in the presidential election?

Particular attention should be paid to the formation of district commissions. The CEC is far away, and local authorities decide on local administrative resources, as well as representatives of candidates, including technical

Every election in Ukraine reminds of the existence of an unresolved issue — the problem of distorting the outcome and unlawful interference with their course. Calling to vote and count voices on conscience (and not on buckwheat) is at least naive. Therefore, I will try to reflect on what should be changed in the current rules of the game, in order to be subsequently not so «painfully painful» from the newly elected authorities.

I will start with presidential elections. This year’s record number of presidential candidates (44 people) is due to the model adopted today. To run for a post it is enough to make a monetary deposit in the amount of 2.5 million hryvnia. While in most of the countries nominating candidates for parliament there is a priority right of parliamentary parties. Why parliamentary? Because they have already got some credibility. The party will be created in order to fight for power, and therefore political force is simply obliged to have a certain level of recognition. However, in order not to strip off beginners, it is possible, for example, to allow the nomination of presidential candidates those parties that have at least 1% of local deputies.

In the world there is another model — when for a vote it is necessary to collect a certain number of signatures. That’s how it was before, and so through the signature filter, there was a significant drop in the number of candidates. But then the rules changed and the money deposit was introduced. Is the best option with signatures? In 2000, Leonid Kuchma decided to hold a referendum merely for the «people’s initiative», which was preceded by the collection of signatures — it is superfluous to recall how these signatures were falsified. In Ukrainian conditions, such a process should be subject to strict control, in order to make it impossible to repeat the 2000, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, not to create an excuse for the CEC to deny the undesirable candidate.
Yes, there is also a risk with signatures. But this is still a more acceptable scheme, since the money deposit as such is a great danger. It allows the technical candidates to take part in the election. Of course, they are not paying for themselves, but they are interested in the players of the first echelon. What are the main bidders for these «dublers»? Exclusively for seats in election commissions. The ability to influence the election process is highly valued, and I know for sure that now (even though the commissions have not yet been formed), the technical candidates are trading these same places. Or more precisely — accessible levers of influence.

What do I offer? Disconnect from the presidential election big money and cancel the mortgage institution. Instead, take as a model one of the European models: nomination of candidates by parties, self-nomination through the collection of signatures, nomination of a candidate by non-political forces, but deputies at local levels, etc. In the end, you can invent your own algorithm, combining the best of what is used in the world. The main thing is to break the existing scheme, which provides a wide area for abuse by registered candidates.

Particular attention should be paid to the formation of district commissions. The CEC is far away, and on the ground everything is solved by the local administrative resource, as well as representatives of candidates, including technical ones. I was told that in the absence of a representative of the candidate (and his control), the votes are simply divided in the interests of those present. For example, spoiling newsletters or throwing «extra». While for the candidate to be nominated by political parties, legal supervision could be more transparent and more effective. Plus decent pay for members of commissions should also play a restraining (before offending) role.

Now on the parliamentary elections. They also contain inappropriate rules of the game. These are the principles of the formation of the CEC and the possibility of parliamentary parties to delegate their representatives to the CEC. Why does the party, which for six months and a half will leave the political arena forever, wed the CEC of its people for a rather long time? For what merits to this party’s society this exclusive right is granted? And the main thing is how will the catechism of such a party behave during all subsequent elections? To whom do they «make trump cards» and what profit will they have from this?

This order of things is possible and must be changed. For this, the CEC law should be completely redrafted, even in the context of the formation of the commission. Withdraw from its text the attachment of members of the CEC to quotas of parliamentary factions. To lay a completely different foundation of the formation of the Central Election Commission. Which exactly? Here are some options. For example, it is possible to form a list of institutions, which in turn will choose the composition of the Central Election Commission. And yet — clearly define the list of qualities desired by a candidate for a member of the CEC. This is, first of all, qualitative legal education, experience, perfect knowledge of electoral legislation and equidistance from political influences. But the main thing is to do without the participation of the most interested structures — political parties. Only in this way will it be possible to raise the authority of the CEC. By the way, about credibility is a rather interesting story.

There is information that in some European countries — where they recently switched to e-voting — they regain the status quo. Why? Because, in particular, there is a purely psychological moment when society trusts organizers of elections, but does not trust the car. This, however, is not the only reason. There are others — in particular, the precedents of interference in the course of elections by the intelligence services of foreign states. For example, in the US elections in 2016. In a word, electronic voting was not a panacea. Therefore, some states return to the old paper system — for example, the Netherlands or Norway. And here the most striking is that those on the «polling station» use a much higher level of trust than their Ukrainian counterparts. However, let’s return to the organization of elections.

Also open lists can become real weapons against falsifications. The connection here is simple: where decisions about a candidate are given to voters, the manipulation becomes meaningless. For example, the party largely loses its interest in the «own» members of the CEC, in the application of various kinds of illegal techniques, etc. «Danger» of open lists, our authorities are aware of superbly, so it is not for nothing and implement the introduction of such a system of fierce resistance. Indeed, an independent Ukraine did not yet know such a practice, although it knew a lot of promises to implement it.

A good counteraction to fraudulent technologies would be to reduce the passage barrier. In the history of Ukraine, the «threshold» for parties varied from 3 to 5%. At the moment, he stubbornly holds the number «5». This very five-per-cent barrier considerably narrows the representation of parties in parliament. The opponents of the reduction of the barrier indicate that this will turn into odious (pro-Russian) parties entering the parliament, but there are pros and cons in each system. It’s only bad when the minuses start to dominate.

In Ukraine, the high level of distrust in the existing parliamentary parties testifies to the huge fatigue of society from the current politics. And it is not in vain: in fact, from the elections to the elections, power passes from one financial and oligarchic group to another, preventing infusion of power structures of non-business projects. Changing electoral rules will motivate the policy of those who have not dared to do this because of insufficient information or poor support of voters.

Moreover, the current legislation does not provide for blocking parties, and this once again makes for the brackets «small» political forces, deprived of the opportunity to declare themselves. It is estimated that in the 2014 elections about 50 parliamentary mandates reached «big» parties due to redistribution of interest, while in reality they were votes for those process participants who could not overcome the barrier. I see no reason to give such politicians such bonuses, especially given their unpopularity and inefficiency in the Verkhovna Rada.

Yet the main criterion of success would be, first of all, the mental restructuring of voters. Citizens must stop trusting the populists, sell voices, cultivate despondency, neglect passive electoral law. If, of course, we want to see Europe not on seasonal jobs in Poland or Portugal, but whenever we go out to the streets of our hometown or village.

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