The survey was carried out by GfK Ukraine for the Council of Europe within the project “Reform of the electoral practice in Ukraine”.
According to the research of the activities of Members of Parliament who were elected in 2014 in majoritarian districts, only 2 out of 84 MPs included in the research were not engaged in any “charity” (which actually means direct or indirect buying of voices).
Upon the results of 2015 local elections, the national law enforcement authorities received 8,220 notifications of alleged electoral violations. 422 criminal proceedings were opened.
According to the results of the research conducted by Civil Network OPORA, among 422 criminal proceedings opened most are related to vote-buying (159) and to preclusion of the right to vote (97). Among 422 criminal proceedings opened, only 66 resulted in an indictment brought to a court for further consideration of the case.
Causes for electoral violation
To understand the causes and motivation, which lead the citizens to commit electoral violations, and to figure out necessary types and directions of further support to enhance effectiveness of mechanisms of accountability for electoral violations, it was necessary to conduct a sociological survey on causes for electoral violations.
At the first stage of the survey, six focus groups were conducted in six Ukrainian cities in order to collect insights for the quantitative survey.
At the second stage, the quantitative f2f survey was conducted with 1,635 respondents. The sample is representative of the adult population of Ukraine. After that, six focus groups were conducted with the members of election commissions, and the other six focus groups – with the members of the political parties in order to discuss the most prevalent types of electoral violations.
The survey questionnaire and guides include the following topics:
– Experience of violations during the elections in Ukraine (both national and local);
– Perception and attitude to the election-related violations;
– Readiness to combat the violations during the election process;
– Possible ways how to combat the violations during the electoral process.
The survey was conducted in June-July 2017.
The survey shows that most Ukrainians (68%) are dissatisfied with the integrity of the electoral process, and the society needs effective prevention, discovery, and investigation of electoral violations.
Moreover, 68% of Ukrainians have faced at least one type of election violations since 2014: election campaigning violations (named by 65%) and vote-buying (named by 13%) are the most prevalent types of violations. As vote-buying is one of the key problems in the electoral process in Ukraine, which needs to be tackled by an electoral reform, the present opinion poll is particularly focused on the question why a Ukrainian voter would sell his or her vote.
Results and possible outcomes
Results also indicate that most Ukrainians do not realize the seriousness of consequences of election violations (some violations are even perceived positively), and they are not ready to appeal to the law enforcement agencies if a party or a candidate offers them money or gifts in exchange for their votes. At the same time, the majority supports the increase of liability and strengthening the punishment for election-related violations.
The survey was designed jointly with experts from the Council of Europe and Civil Network OPORA and became subject to long-term public and expert discussions. Survey outputs were used as a justification for the development of a law on the inevitability of punishment for electoral crimes.
Consequently, in April 2018, the Government voiced the approval of the draft law “On Introduction of Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Aimed to Strengthen the Liability for Violation of Electoral Legislation”, which was elaborated by Civil Network OPORA in cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
There is a high chance that Parliament will pass the law before the next elections in 2019. In that case, more liability will be imposed on both voters and campaigners, and the mechanism that prevents electoral violations will be improved, providing more integrity to the electoral process.
 Konieczna-Sałamatin J., Pryshchepa K. The efficiency of patronage mechanisms in post-Maidan Ukraine. Presentation at 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, July 10-14, 2016, Vienna. The abstract is available via link
About the Authors:
Tamila Konoplytska, Senior Researcher at GFK Ukraine
Inna Volosevych, Head of Social and Political Research Department at GFK Ukraine
Dmytro Savchuk, Researcher at GFK Ukraine