Civil Network OPORA will conduct the observation of the runoff mayoral elections that will take place on 22 November, 2020, in Berdiansk, Zaporizhia Oblast; Dnipro; Drohobych, Lviv Oblast; Lviv; Mykolaiv; Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast; Poltava; Rivne; Slovyansk, Donetsk Oblast; Uzhhorod; and Cherkasy. 

Between these eleven Ukrainian cities, four mayoral candidates represent the Za Maibutnie (For the Future) party organizations (i.e. in Berdiansk, Nikopol, Poltava, and Cherkasy), three represent the Opposition Platform – For Life (i.e. in Berdiansk, Mykolaiv, and Slovyansk), three represent the Servant of the People (i.e. in Nikopol, Poltava, and Uzhhorod), two represent the European Solidarity (i.e. in Rivne and Lviv), and another two represent the Proposition (i.e. in Dnipro and Mykolaiv). The party organizations that are represented by one runoff candidate each are Hromadska Syla (Power of the Community) in Dnipro, Rivne Razom (Rivne Together) in Rivne, Samopomich in Lviv, the Opposition Bloc in Slovyansk, and Holos (Voice) in Cherkasy. In Drohobych, both runoff mayoral candidates are self-nominees, whereas in Uzhhorod, one of the two candidates is a self-nominee. 

During the short election campaign, there were no large-scale violations of the election law. Only a few incidents allegedly involving vote buying were reported, which may be considered a positive feature of the runoff elections in the eleven Ukrainian cities. Some of the candidates have failed to properly separate campaigning from their official duties, which has led to violation of democratic standards of public administration during the election campaign. The incumbent candidates made fairly extensive efforts to capitalize on their official activities and programs to give them an electoral advantage but, as a rule, there were no direct violations of the existing law. Another notable negative trend was quite extensive, sometimes anonymous, campaigns of deliberate misinformation against the rivals. Of particular concern are one-off reports of smear campaigning focusing on discriminatory opinions, religious prejudices, and a negative attitude towards ethnic minorities. There were other isolated violations that do not reflect the overall process of the runoff mayoral election. Between the election day of 25 October and the publication of this report, election observers had filed eighteen reports of electoral violations with the National Police of Ukraine. The largest number of reports on violations during the local elections of 25 October, 2020, was submitted in Zaporizhia Oblast (six) and the city of Kyiv (five). Overall, during the entire local election campaign, observers filed 729 complaints with the law enforcement agencies. 

Despite the decrease in campaigning activity following the vote of 25 October, political advertising in social media remains one of the key means of communication between the candidates and voters. During the three weeks following the vote of 25 October, at least 8,764 advertising posts were made on Facebook costing a total of approx. US$ 227,000 (or just under UAH 6.4 million). 

Of all the runoff candidates, the top 3 Facebook political advertising spenders are Oleh Syniutka (Lviv, European Solidarity) at US$ 7,826, Viktor Shakyrzian (Rivne, Rivne Razom) at US$ 5,456, and Andriy Sadovy (Lviv, Samopomich) at US$ 3,058. The candidates who spent over US$ 2,000 are Pavlo Prydvorov (Slovyansk, Opposition Platform – For Life) at US$ 2,558, Bohdan Andriiv (Uzhhorod, self-nominee) at US$ 2,174, and Anatoliy Bondarenko (Cherkasy, Za Maibutnie) at US$ 2,128.

Of all the runoff candidates who paid for political advertising on Facebook, Viktor Schadei (Uzhhorod, Servant of the People) spent the least at US$ 1,631. Apart from the candidates, eight political parties spent a total of just under US$ 7,600, or over UAH 213 thousand, to support their candidates in the runoff election. The top spenders are the Holos party at US$ 4,542, European Solidarity at US$ 1,508, and the Opposition Platform – For Life in Mykolaiv Oblast at US$ 1,000. 

OPORA has made a separate calculation of how much third-party Facebook pages spent on overt and covert political advertising or negative campaigning. A total of 78 such pages spent almost US$ 34,700, or over UAH 976,000, on political advertising. The top spenders were Petro Poroshenko’s page at US$ 3,123, Uzh-city at US$ 2,471, and Dnepropetrovsk Online News at US$ 1,996. 

OPORA would like to alert law enforcement agencies and urge them to promptly investigate mass media and social media reports of vote buying schemes set up in Cherkasy, Dnipro, Slovyansk, and Uzhhorod. Following the investigation, this criminal activity must be stopped, or if the reports prove groundless, the public should be properly informed about that. 

OPORA reports no systemic factors that would adversely affect proper preparation and holding of the voting on November 22, 2020. However, staff rotations in territorial and precinct election commissions are significant, undermining the stability of their work. TECs and PECs established for the October 25 local election are responsible for preparation of the rerun mayoral election. The election commissions consist of representatives of the election participants who have already stopped their campaigns. Their low motivation to nominate their candidates for the election commissions, as well as the spread of COVID-19, have led to significant staff reshuffles in the precinct election commissions. In some cities and towns, party organizations waived their quotas in PECs and informed the TECs of the same. Replacements of TEC members and especially PEC members in the run-up to the repeat voting not only highlight the issues faced by the election administration system, but also reveal the secret funding of members of the respective commissions. Upon termination of the campaigns, the parties and candidates who do not participate in the rerun election shall terminate financial support of the election commission members nominated by them. Issues in the work of the election commissions prove the need for broad parliamentary and expert discussions of the reforms in Ukraine's election administration system. Professionalization of the commission members, stronger financial incentives for them, and efforts to ensure the stability of territorial and precinct election commissions are some promising areas for such reforms.

Several election commission members contracted COVID-19 infection in various Ukrainian cities and towns, but this does not pose a threat to the validity of the commission meetings. In particular, when territorial election commissions are set up with the maximum possible members, this allows for a quorum at their meetings, even amid the spread of the disease. Observers report massive failures of TEC members to comply with the anti-pandemic and sanitary rules, a fact that may adversely affect their future work.

The TEC activities to arrange the repeat vote were generally in line with the law and saw no significant violations. However, observers report quite common procedural violations committed by election commission members. This showcases once again the problems with their professional training. Proper public access to the election commission decisions and financial reports of the election funds of party organizations and candidates, as well as efforts to increase the transparency of the election administration process remain important objectives for further improvement of the laws and practices.

OPORA observers report violations of deadlines by some TECs in terms of receipt of ballots from the printhouses, as well as problems with covering the ballot printing costs (Drohobych, Lviv Oblast). The inability of Mykolaiv City TEC to approve the decision on registration of OPORA's official observers forced the civil network to take a legal action. This situation raises concerns.

In this report, OPORA also sums up the consolidated interim results of the 2020 local elections in terms of nominating entities. The issues some TECs had with the establishment of voting results and subsequent lawsuits delayed the transmission of data on the local election results. As of November 19, the information was not yet available on almost 4,000 elected officials (see Annex to the Report). Please note that the information will be updated upon transmission of all data from the territorial election commissions to the CEC.

According to OPORA's estimates based on information available on the CEC's website, the following parties won the biggest number of seats in the regional councils: the Servant of the People (17.6%), European Solidarity (14%), the Opposition Platform — For Life (12.1%), Batkivshchyna [Fatherland] (11.1%), and Za Maibutnie [For the Future] (10.6%). These political forces hold 65.4% of all seats in the regional councils.

In the raion councils, the Opposition Platform — For Life won the largest number of seats (16.7%), followed by the Servant of the People (16.5%), European Solidarity (13.2%), Batkivshchyna (9.5%), and Za Maibutnie (9.1%). These five parties account for 65% of the elected councilors.

In communities with 10,000+ voters (proportional representation system), the following parties won the biggest number of seats: the Servant of the People (15.4%), European Solidarity (12.8%), the Opposition Platform — For Life (12.4%), Batkivshchyna (10.3%), and Za Maibutnie (9.2%). In total, these five parties account for 60.1% of the elected councilors.

In communities with up to 10,000 voters (the single-seat election system), self-nominated leaders are in the lead (39.1%), followed by representatives of the Servant of the People (12.9%), Batkivshchyna (10.7%), Za Maibutnie (10%), and Nash Krai [Our Land] (2,664 or 4.8%). These political forces, in the same order, were the  leaders in terms of the number of nominated council candidates for the communities with up to 10,000 voters.

Among the elected city/town mayors and village heads, self-nominated candidates won the most seats (46.8%), followed by representatives of the Servant of the People (15.9%), Za Maibutnie (6.4%), Batkivshchyna (4.8%), and the Opposition Platform — For Life (3.7%).

OPORA has separately reviewed the results of the local elections in terms of gender representation in the local authorities. Among all of the elected officials (councilors and chairpersons), 64.1% are men, and 35.9% are women. At the same time, 55.5% of the candidates were men and 44.2%, women 

Preliminary data show that women make almost 28.2% of the elected representatives in the oblast councils; 33.7% in the rayon councils; 32.8% in the community-level councils with 10,000+ voters; and 41.6% in the communities with up to 10,000 voters. The percentage of women’s representation is the lowest (16.8%) among the elected city, town and village mayors; there were, however, significantly fewer women than men among the candidates for these positions. Among the political parties that received the largest number of seats across the nation, the highest percentage of women who have been elected appear on the party tickets of Our Land (40.3%) and Servant of the People (39.1%), and the lowest, on that of VO Svoboda party (26%).

Our organization has conducted a preliminary analysis of the effects that the proportional representation with open lists has had in the 2020 local elections. Amongst more than 21,000 candidates elected under the proportional electoral system (oblast, rayon and community councils with 10,000+ voters), the vast majority (59.9%) have won in the single multi-member constituencies (party tickets) and only 40.1%, in the territorial constituencies. Among all the elected representatives, 52.6% of the candidates have received the electoral quota percentage required for promotion (over 25%). Seven per cent of the nominees have received less than 5% of the electoral quota, and 40.4% of the nominees, a quota from 5% to 24.99%.

Concerning the practice of bringing administrative proceedings in election violation cases, 911 relevant rulings have appeared in the Unified State Court Register since the beginning of the election process. In 31% of the instances (290 cases), the case materials were sent back for revision because of improper documentation. In 460 cases (50% of all instances) the guilty parties were found. In other situations, the proceedings were closed on various grounds, for absence of the facts and relevant elements of administrative violations, or in view of the trifling nature of the violations. Most cases (475) were traditionally considered under Art. 212-13 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (production or distribution of printed campaign materials missing mandatory reference information), another 271 cases were heard under CoAO Art. 212-14 (violation of the procedure of placement of campaign materials), and 199 cases, under CoAO Art. 212-10 (violation of campaigning restrictions). OPORA notes that the absence of any proceedings under CoAO Article 212-16 (ordering or producing an excessive quantity of ballots) may indicate that the description of this offence should be revised, as many of OPORA’s observers document a large number of violations, e.g., mismatched constituency numbers, absence of certain candidates in the ballot papers, and violation of deadlines, but any administrative liability arises only when the ballots are printed in excess of a required quantity, which in itself may constitute a stage of the election documents falsification as a criminal offense.

There are several ongoing criminal proceedings launched for violation of' citizens’ voting rights in the local elections. A good case in point is the verdict passed by Krasnopil District Court, Sumy Region, on November 9, 2020, finding a PEC member guilty under Art. 158-1, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, for receiving ballot papers by a person not authorized to do so and unlawfully casting the ballot into the ballot box. More specifically, an election commissioner had unlawfully received a ballot and voted in the elections of representatives to the Sumy Regional Council, Sumy District Council, elections of members of Myropil Village Council and Myropil Village Head, Sumy District of Sumy Region.

Breaking electoral law during the second round of voting at mayoral elections in 11 cities of Ukraine

The campaigning activity of candidates running for the second round at mayoral elections on November, 22, 2020, is characterized by the low intensity and the reduced scope of campaigning activities. The short terms of election campaigning impacted the legality of candidates' activities but also reduced the risk of electoral fraud on their part. OPORA observers note only the random cases related to financial incentivization of voters, breaking the campaigning rules and procedures, obstructing to activities of the rivals. Before the election day on the second round of voting, observers have received information about the possible organization of voter bribery schemes (Cherkasy, Dnipro, Slovyansk, Uzhgorod). However, it did not have sufficient evidence and calls for an efficient investigation by law-enforcement bodies.

Cases were massive with abusing of administrative resources for electoral interests of candidates who were holding power positions in local self-governments during elections. The issue of abusing administrative resources has been rarely reflected on the level of breaking certain legal provisions. However, the cases of deputies benefiting from their positions or relations in public authorities were breaking the principle of equal opportunities for campaigners and went against the principles of politically unbiased functioning of public administration. 

OPORA hereby highlights the massive cases when candidates were using the methods of sharing untruthful or unverified negative information about their opponents. The widespread cases of “black PR” before the second election round challenged any meaningful dialogue between candidates on the future development of territorial hromadas, and also restricted voters' access to the truthful information on election participants. Public attempts to discredit the rivals on the grounds of their religious affiliations and views raised special concerns. The incidents are unacceptable for a society that values the constitutional guarantees for the freedom of religion and tolerance towards different religious beliefs. 

The same as before the election day during the second round on 15 November, observers stated some severe issues in activities of local and national mass media, in terms of their abidance by the statutory requirements to inform about the election process. The Electoral Code obliges the mass media and news agencies to inform their voters under the principles of balanced, truthful, full and precise, and objective coverage. The selected analysis by OPORA observers shows that some mass media in the regions and on a national level ignored the requirements, and showed a manifestly biased approach in favour of certain candidates. The disproportional coverage by national television channels on certain candidates is likely related to the political contacts of their owners. Moreover, it negatively affected the practical abidance by the principle of equal rights and opportunities of candidates. For example, a candidate for a city mayor of Mykolayiv Viktor Chayka (“Opposition Platform - For Life”) had unique access to the TV channels ZIK, NewsOne, 112.

Financial incentives to voters

During the election campaign, OPORA observers documented several incidents with elements of offering an improper advantage to individual voters or to legal entities, which was accompanied with campaigning, mentioned a candidate’s name or picture, name of symbols of a political party nominating the candidate. Thereat, the Code qualifies as the improper advantage also food products, among other things, regardless of their cost. 

In Poltava, a case was detected when retired age voters were presented with the gift packages that included a set of facemasks, a box of chocolates, and a postcard, allegedly sent by a mayoral candidate Oleksandr Mamay (“For the Future” party), with the gratitude for supporting him in the first round. In Rivne, during the election campaign, a candidate Viktor Shakyrzian (“Rivne Together” party) has repeatedly presented personal protective equipment for medical professionals, medical materials, and equipment to local health care facilities. In Mykolayiv, the National Police are investigating the circumstances of the case of having the representatives of the local party organization for the “Proposition” present the sports equipment to a local school and a gymnasium. A mayoral candidate from the “Proposition” party in Mykolayiv Oleksandr Senkevych is running for the second round and keeps the status of an electoral subject. On the other hand, in Drohobych, Lviv Oblast, a self-nominated candidate Andriy Veselyi arranged for local citizens a free of charge bus on November, 01, 2020, on the Commemorative Day, to go to a cemetery. The bus was labeled with a special sticker with his name. Andriy Veselyi also initiated a campaign to introduce discounts for retired passengers for inter-city travel, whereas some local transport operators supported it.

In Dnipro and Slovyansk, the mass media shared information about the possible preparation for voter bribery during the second round, particularly, through messengers and social media. In this respect, OPORA observers were approached by individual electoral actors. To identify any criminal schemes or to prevent any discrediting of the election process, the National Police of Ukraine shall promptly investigate the incidents and inform the public.

Generally, during the election campaign for the second round of voting to elect city mayors on November, 22, no repeated and massive cases were recorded with elements of voter bribery that would compromise the integrity and democratic principles of voting. Despite this fact, law-enforcement officers and electoral actors need to make a special focus on voter bribery prevention.

Abuse of administrative resources

Participation of the incumbent city mayors and other influential officials from local self-government in the second voting round created preconditions for using the public administration resources for the electoral purpose of certain candidates. OPORA observers have not recorded any large-scale practices of abusing administrative resources by candidates, but the problem of clear distinctions between their official and electoral activities remains pressing. Low standards for providing political neutrality of authorities resulted in a situation when the legal requirements were not broken by candidates but they have largely activated their official activities under the disguise of fulfilling their political commitments. Certain candidates also engaged people's deputies of Ukraine to support them, when informed voters about their capacity to increase the scope of public funding for local projects.

A major sign of breaking the standards in the field of preventing abuse of administrative resources was a de facto exploitation of official events and public authority strategies for campaigning needs of the candidates who were also public officials. For example, an incumbent city mayor of Uzhgorod, a self-nominated candidate Bohdan Andriyiv was actively informing voters about the landscaping improvements funded at the cost of the local budget. Slovyansk city mayor, a candidate from the local organization of the “Opposition Block” party, Vadym Liakh, initiated the signing of a document with voters entitled the “Social contract with the city mayor.” Thereat, the campaign was presented in the context of the city mayor’s current activities. An important part of the election campaign of Andriy Sadovyi, a mayoral candidate of Lviv, included public budget projects and the city's participatory programs. Borys Filatov, a mayoral candidate for Dnipro, an incumbent city mayor (“Proposition”), promised to increase the funding for the housing condominiums from the local budget. 

The actual abuse of administrative resources is also associated with certain candidates who were not officials in local self-government but who made use of their contact in national and local authorities. For example, Victor Shchadey, a candidate for the city mayor of Uzhgorod (“Servant of the People”), participated in the briefing by Yuriy Aristov, head of the committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Budget. The case includes elements of breaking the standards for the prevention of abuse of budget resources in favor of elections. On the other hand, Zahid Krasnov, a Dnipro mayoral candidate (“Public Force”), participated in a meeting of Maksym Stepanov, a Minister for Health Care of Ukraine, with the employees of Mechnikov regional hospital. 

One of the forms of engaging administrative resources for their personal benefit was the actual use of social advertising for campaigning purposes. For example, in Lviv, a social ad was placed at the budget cost with the slogans such as "It is Lviv. It is Ukraine." A candidate Andriy Sadovyi (Samopomich Union) also used its elements in his campaigning materials. 

Other practices, such as meetings with work teams held by candidates who were also public officials, wiz housing condominiums, with public self-organization bodies, as well as massive and public support of the candidates running in the second round by their directors, sometimes also contained elements of abusing administrative resources. Observers also noted the political engagement of private company owners, which posed certain risks of unlawful influence on their employees and went against the financing procedures for election campaigns. Although such types of breaking the standards of elections are hard to prove, the problem of the so-called private administrative resource shall be comprehensively examined and find a due response. The cases when certain mass media in the regions broke the principle of balanced and objective coverage of the election process could be related to the administrative influence they experienced or could be attributable to the political contacts of their owners. The situation contains elements of abusing media administrative resources. At the same time, OPORA observers stated the lack of proven facts of exacting direct pressure or cases of intimidating voters by candidates who have the administrative resource. As little as few cases contained elements of forced participation of voters in meetings with candidates organized in the work teams, organizations, and institutions. For example, observers and received certain information about the possible forced participation of voters in a meeting with Oleh Syniutka, a mayoral candidate for Lviv (“European Solidarity”) in the Lviv museum for the history of religion. 

OPORA observers recognize the abidance by the principle of political impartiality towards elections by the executives from local state administrations in most cities of Ukraine. However, in some cities, public officials were directly supporting certain candidates. The head of Transcarpathia regional state administration Oleksiy Petrov encouraged to support a mayoral candidate for Uzhgorod Viktor Shchadey (“Servant of the People”). In particular, the city had outdoor advertisements where the RSA head urged to vote for the candidate. Besides, the local state administration was severely criticizing the incumbent city mayor, a candidate аBohdan Andriyiv. In Lviv, OPORA observers noticed the actual support for a mayoral candidate Oleh Syniutka (“European Solidarity”) coming from public officials of the Lviv regional council. Also the public officials in question our that defect of political figures, their engagement in election campaign harmed the impartial position of authorities to electoral actors. 

Therefore, the problem of abusing administrative resources for electoral purposes is still pressing, however, its intensity during the second round was not critical for democratic election standards. 

The "black PR" technologies

Mayoral candidates running for the repeated voting were actively disseminating deliberately untruthful or unverified information about the rivals. They extensively engaged the mass media and shared materials. This kind of practice had a negative impact on the objective information delivered to voters and challenged the public dialogue among the candidates. The discrediting campaigns against candidates were documented in all 11 cities of Ukraine is that are going to have the repeated voting on November, 22. Although the scale of the discriminating campaigns against candidates varied, all election participants were targeted by the intentional information attacks. The topics used in the unfair technologies varied, too. Incentive cities, opponents produced the unverified and designedly unveracious or discriminating information about each other's criminal record (Dnipro, Rivne), previous statements or political positions of candidates (Lviv, Slovyansk), the personal life of political leaders (Cherkasy, Slovyansk), their religious beliefs (Rivne), a.o. 

In some cases, negative campaigns against the candidates touched upon the issues of ethnic minorities, religious affiliations, age or gender prejudice, which is unacceptable for a civilized society. For example, in Lviv, the large scale discrediting campaign against Andriy Sadovyi, a candidate from the “Samopomich Union," included the dissemination of fake newspapers with untruthful information quoting his alleged opinions about local settlements of the Roma people. The general context of this disinformation report raises a prejudiced attitude against the Roma community. Therefore, it requires the due assessment as to the possible violation of Article 161 of the Criminal Code (violating the equality of citizens regardless of their race, nationality, religion, disability, or other characteristics). In Rivne, OPORA observers documented that social media sharing the details on the religious affiliation of the mayoral candidate Oleksandr Tretiak (“European Solidarity”). It was supposed to discredit the campaigner. On the other hand, in Cherkasy, the “black” PR campaign mentioned family members of a candidate Viktor Yevpak (“Holos”), based on age and other bias. OPORA denounces political attempts to increase discrimination in the society used for electoral or any other purposes.

A separate trend in the unfair technologies was to directly misinform citizens about the candidates' election agenda and plans. For example, in Slovyansk, Lviv region, voters received provocative telephone calls, presumably from a candidate Vadym Liakh (“Opposition Block”). In particular, the anonymous persons informed voters about the intention of a candidate, an incumbent city mayor, to repeal the social protection programs.

Deception of voters and other discrediting technologies may potentially impact the voting results. This sort of negative conduct of candidates shall be prevented, both by social rejection and through legal mechanisms. In case of sharing discriminating statements, the law-enforcement bodies shall be prepared to legally assess them under the Criminal Code of Ukraine. On the other hand, the candidates themselves should be more actively using the response mechanisms to the dissemination of the designedly unveracious information about themselves, as provided by the Electoral Code and other laws of Ukraine.

Responses of OPORA observers to violations of electoral law

From October 26 to November 19, OPORA observers submitted 18 requests to the National Police on the commission of electoral fraud. The highest number of complaints came from Zaporizhzhia Oblast (6) and the city of Kyiv (5). In total, since the stop of election process, OPORA observers submitted 729 requests to the National police.


Number of claims submitted by 25.10.2020 (inclusive)

Number of claims submitted from 26.10.2020 to 19.11.2020

Total number of claims submitted

































































































Kyiv City








Activities of territorial and precinct election commissions

The preparation of the second round of voting to elect city mayors to take place on November, 22 in 11 cities of Ukraine shall be provided by the territorial and precinct election commissions established before the official start of the election process in August, 2020.

The slow pace and low transparency of the process of establishing voting results by the territorial election commissions can be explained by objective reasons (application of new election systems and the need to repeat the vote count) but it was also accompanied by procedural issues and low-quality performance of the commissions. It also refers to the commissions in charge of the second round of voting. The most common violation was that the commissions failed to precisely follow procedural requirements, such as they illegitimately announced the long technical breaks without interrupting the sessions (such as in Slovyansk, where the TEC announced the break for five days); there were risks of access of unauthorized persons to election documentation (reports and ballot papers) because the relevant rooms were improperly sealed, particularly when the commission announced the breaks; the failure to follow the procedure for the vote count during the second round, such as several TEC members were counting the votes simultaneously.

There are documented cases when commission members contracted COVID-19. However, according to observers, the fact is not critical for the commissions' current operations, since TECs mostly have maximum membership. Thus, there was a sufficient number of people to organize the work and meet quorum requirements.

Observers hereby note that members of territorial election commissions were not responsible enough in terms of following the anti-epidemic measures when exercising their current functions. Most commonly, it is related to the nonstop facemask-wearing, regular disinfection of rooms, and contact surfaces.

Upon the whole, replacements of the PEC members after the first voting round, according to observers, have been intense and large-scale; and they may last until the election day during the second round. Key causes of the frequent replacements are related to the unwillingness of that PEC members to perform their duties during the second round, and the COVID-19 symptoms. Regular and multiple replacements of election commission members have been a common practice used by parties (and candidates) to establish mutual control over the election administration. However, there are no grounds to believe that this negative practice is going to be critical for the performance of commissions. In addition, according to observers, the replacements of commission members that took place before the second round did not distort the balance of representation, or did not contain any elements of the monopoly influence on the commissions' performance attempted by certain candidates (parties).

The fact that the previously established commissions, as initiated by parties and candidates, that are no longer electoral subjects (except for two candidates/ parties), continue to fulfill their duties simplifies the general election administration. On the other hand, it accentuates the problem of the shadow financing of the election commission members. Observers report about the cases when commission members previously nominated by the local organizations of political parties that are no longer running for the elections are unwilling to continue their duties during the second round since there are no specific financial incentives from the delegating political parties. The most indicative situation was found in Uzhgorod where the members of the precinct election commissions nominated by different actors started withdrawing from their functions in the commissions on the election day during the second voting for the city mayor of Uzhgorod. At the same time, the PEC members submitted the notices of resignation directly to TEC, rather than to their nominating entities empowered to revoke their delegated members. The political parties "KMKS. Party of Hungarians of Ukraine" and the "Democratic Party of Hungarians of Ukraine" notified the commission of the quitting of their quota for all their PEC members. In response to this situation, the TEC sent an official letter to all electoral participants requesting to replace the commission members to enable the proper elections. Eventually, according to OPORA observers, following the replacements, all PECs would be able to operate in a plenipotent capacity.

One of the key TECs' objectives at this stage of the election process was to approve the text of ballot papers, to print them, and to transfer them to the respective commissions. However, multiple commissions managed to follow the set timeline in the organization of the process of production and transfer of ballot papers to the lower-level election commissions. In particular, observers documented the violations of the deadlines in transporting ballot papers from the producing company to TECs (Mykolayiv, Poltava, Cherkasy). Specifically, after the second round day was set on November 5, it took the Mykolayiv city TEC several days to have the session to organize the production of ballot papers. They managed to have the regular session as late as on November, 13; whereas, on November, 16, they decided about the company to print the ballot papers. Therefore, they broke the statutory terms for their production and transfer to city district TECs.

At the same time, when preparing for the second round, some TECs (such as in Drohobych, Lviv Oblast) informed about the delayed payments from the local budget allocated for printing the ballots. According to the law, the costs for the second round of voting shall be covered at the cost of local budgets. Another problem that show during the voting on October, 25, and still relevant, is the lack of office appliances at the precinct election commissions, which makes it impossible to provide all electoral subjects with the vote count protocols.

In other respects, local authorities supported election commissions in the exercise of their statutory duties. Precinct election commissions were provided with the premises (there are issues with access to PECs, but it is a huge challenge for the entire municipal infrastructure, rather than for individual facilities engaged in the elections). Besides, they have been provided with the necessary appliances and equipment. In some cities (such as in Lviv), working groups continued to function to coordinate actions related to the organization of the election process; they also addressed material and technical issues.

Generally, in their work, TECs followed the transparency and openness requirements, such is in part of publishing and making available the public documentation, promulgating the information about the current activities and decisions made. At the same time, certain important information (e.g., interim and final financial reports of candidates and parties, and the findings of their analyses) have not been promptly published in full scope, for information. The issue could be resolved if the commissions had their web resources to publish the full list of decisions and big data sets in an easy-to-read format.

No incidents were found related to the insufficient information and the provision of unimpeded access to commission sessions. However, there were issues with the timely registration of official observers. Thus, Mykolayiv city TEC failed to register the observers from OPORA, although the registration documents were submitted within the statutory term (November, 13), and complied with the requirements of the Electoral Code. The commission voted for the registration of observers twice (November, 13 and 16), but failed to make the respective decision, for the lack of votes. OPORA filed an administrative complaint to Mykolayiv district administrative court on recognizing the inactivity of Mykolayiv city TEC and requested to oblige the commissions to register OPORA observers.

Observers have not received any reports about cases of any pressure put on election commissions, or any signs of serious conflict linked to election administration. However, the high-profile court cases dealing with the appeals of decisions, actions, or inactivity of TECs, establishing voting results at the elections of deputies (Lviv, Rivne, Cherkasy, Slovyansk) have a direct impact on the operation of commissions. To a certain extent, it complicates the process of preparation for the second round of voting on November, 22.

Campaigning activities of candidates and parties before the second voting round on November, 22

In terms of territories, election campaigns of candidates running for the mayoral seats covered 11 cities in 9 Oblasts of Ukraine. The actual participants of the election campaign were 9 political parties represented by the candidates participating in the second round on November, 22.

The most represented party in the second round (four candidates) was the “For the Future” party: Valeriy Baranov (Berdiansk), Anatoliy Bondarenko (Cherkasy), Oleksandr Sayuk (Nikopol), and Oleksandr Mamay (Poltava). Three candidates for city mayors to be elected on November, 22, were nominated by each of the parties, such as “Servant of the People” (Viktor Shchadey in Uzhgorod, Ruslan Oliynyk in Nikopol, and Serhiy Ivashchenko in Poltava) and the “Opposition Platform - For Life” (Pavlo Prydvorov in Slovyansk, Oleksandr Svidlo in Berdiansk, and Vladyslav Chayka in Mykolayiv). Two candidates were representing each of the following parties: the “European Solidarity” (Oleksandr Tretiak in Rivne and Oleh Syniutka in Lviv) and the “Proposition” (Borys Filatov in Dnipro and Oleksandr Senkevych in Mykolayiv). Other represented parties were the “Samopomich” party (Andriy Sadovyi in Lviv), “Holos” (Viktor Yevpak in Cherkasy), “Opposition Block” (Vadym Liakh in Slovyansk), “Public Force” (Zahid Krasnov in Dnipro) and “Rivne Together” (Viktor Shakyrzian in Rivne). The other candidates were fromally self-nominated.  

Compared to the previous election round, the campaigning activities of electoral subjects had, quite expectedly, a lower coverage and less public visibility. One of the popular campaigning methods is the placement of printed campaigning materials on the outdoor media. However, campaigning on social media, as well as in regional and national mass media, was prevailing in the candidates’ public activity within the second round. Candidates were trying to make the best use of the available opportunities to access local and national television channels for campaigning but the observers noted an issue with the unbalanced representation of candidates in different media.

In this context, a role of public debate between candidates has been growing, as it is the most accessible way to exercise the principle of equal opportunities of all process participants to inform voters. Of the seven cities hosting the second round on November, 15, the debate with the two candidates took place only in Lutsk. In contrast, in Sumy, candidates were debating on different TV channels. When preparing the second round of voting for November, 22, the candidates had a TV debate in Lviv. In Mykolayiv, the debate scheduled for November, 19, failed to take place because of a reported bomb threat at the television station facility. In Cherkasy, the debate was cheduled, too, on November, 20.

Electoral Code does not establish any formal requirements and does not rpovide for any mandatory television debate between the candidates at local elections (in contrast to the presidential elections). However, this form of election campaigning is a good democratic practice that facilitates the possibility of well-contemplated choices for all citizens.

High-profile discussions and permanent negotiations between the candidates in different cities of Ukraine on the date and format of election debate imply the practical interest of all electoral actors to employ the debate as a form of campaigning. At the same time, lack of formal statutory requirements or clear guarantees to comply with them is often a key restriction preventing the full-fledged use of the awareness-raising and mobilization capacity (not only the political function) of this instrument at local elections. 

An important role of public broadcasting providers is worth noting. In fact, in every region it was most often considered by the candidates as the most neutral and acceptable media platform for TV debate for all.  

Compared to the first voting round, the tone and content of the candidates’ campaigning messages have changed. The campaign became more conflicting and built on the criticism of opponents, with the black PR methods, and with disinformation. In terms of the intense use of social media, many opinion leaders also directly engaged in the campaigning process (in parallel to the common activity of the so-called VIP campaigners). The growing role and variety of forms the tool could use for campaigning requires new flexible and efficient approaches to regulate election campaigns on the Internet, such as their content and financing.

The same as before, a challenge in the campaign during the repeated voting was related to the candidates’ active use of access to public finance, their status of power and authority for campaigning needs. The incumbent city mayors and people’s deputies shared about the cases of the implemented or planned infrastructure projects to illustrate their campaigns. They referred to works on improvement of territories or road construction performed at budget cost. The examples were used as a key element of their public election campaigns (Uzhgorod, Lviv, Dnipro, Cherkasy). Therefore, three is much concern about revision and improvement of requirements for activities of elected officials in the election process in a legal domain, so that they would efficiently reproduce the established international practices, in line with the recognized democratic standards.

Campaigning activity of candidates and parties on social media (October, 26 - November, 22)

Following October, 25, the activity of political parties and candidates on social media has largely dropped. Generally, over the three weeks since the election day, over 8,764 advertized posts have been published on Facebook, worth about USD 227,000 (almost UAH 6.4 mln). The graph below shows the dynamics of expenses incurred by political parties for promoted political ads.

OPORA analyzed all ads and identified who of the political parties and candidates had been most actively using social media tools for campaigning, before the second round on November, 22. Over the monitoring period, the most active election campaigns on the Facebook social media took place in Lviv, Dnipro, Uzhgorod, and Cherkasy. Specifically, the cities also saw a high activization of the anonymous pages sharing the discrediting materials against candidates.

Campaigning activity of mayoral candidates

The highest amounts were spent on political ads on Facebook directly by candidates who made it for the second round of elections, while using the social media instruments for campaigning. 

Expenses of candidates for political ads


Amounts spent, USD

Oleh Syniutka


Viktor Shakyrzian


Andriy Sadovyi


Pavlo Prydvorov


Bohdan Andriyiv


Anatoliy Bondarenko


Andriy Veselyi


Serhiy Ivashchenko


Oleksandr Tretiak


Viktor Shchadey


The most active candidate on Facebook was Oleh Syniutka running for the seat of Lviv city mayor from the “European Solidarity” party. The candidate spent over USD 7,800 (over UAH 220,000) for political ads on this social media. Almost all Syniutka’s political ads were financed at the expense of the Lviv branch of the “European Solidarity” party. In his advertisements, Syniutka was actively criticizing the decisions of the incumbent city mayor of Lviv and his competitor, Andriy Sadovyi. He shared about his plans for the improvement of the territories in different city neighborhoods, and reported about his meetings with the citizens.

Viktor Shakyrzian, a candidate for the city mayor of Rivne from the “Rivne Together” party, spent for political ads almost USD 5,500 (over UAH 150,000). In his political ads on Facebook, Shakyrzian shared about the key issues in the city and his vision on their solutions, and communicated the key messages of his election campaign.

Andriy Sadovyi, a candidate for the city mayor of Lviv from the “Samopomich” party, spent over USD 3,000 (over UAH 85,000) for political ads on this coial media. In his promoted posts, Sadovyi was actively debunking the fakes shared about him on the Internet and in mass media, and invited his opponent Oleh Syniutka to debate with him; and the same as most candidates, he presented his plans to improve the citizens’ wellbeing.

Pavlo Prydvorov, a candidate for the city mayor of Slovyansk from the “Opposition Platform - For Life” party, spent over USD 2,500 (over UAH 70,000). Prydvorov was actively covering his meetings with Slovyansk citizens and answered the questions they asked; he also shared about his work as a city mayor, if elected.

Bohdan Andriyiv, a candidate for the city mayor of Uzhgorod, spent over USD 2,000 (over UAH 60,000) for political ads on Facebook. Andriyiv is an incumbent city mayor in Uzhgorod, thus, in most of his promoted posts he commented on the operations of Uzhgorod city council, and told about the improvements in the city during his term.

Anatoliy Bondarenko, a candidate for the city mayor of Cherkasy from the “For the Future” party, spent for political ads over USD 2,100 (almost UAH 60,000). In his promoted posts, Anatoliy Bondarenko reported about the deliverables of his previous term, and told about his plans in the event of his victory.

Andriy Veselyi, a candidate for the head of Drohobych amalgamated hromada, spent over USD 1,800 (over UAH 52,000) for political ads. The candidate’s posts mostly concern the debate between him and his opponent Taras Kuchma.

Serhiy Ivashchenko, a candidate for the city mayor of Poltava from the “Servant of the People” party, spent for political ads on Facebook USD 1,700 (almost UAH 48,000), while sharing his promoted posts from the page of Полтаві Зміни (lit. – Changes for Poltava). Virtually all ads from the page were the videos with statements by the candidate’s team members, the newly elected deputies from the “Servant of the People” in Poltava City Council and the unindifferent Poltava citizens sharing why they wanted to see Serhiy Ivashchenko as their mayor.

Oleksandr Tretiak, a candidate for the city mayor’s position in Rivne from the “European Solidarity” party, spent almost USD 1,700 (UAH 47,500) for political ads on Facebook. Many promoted posts of the candidate explained his position on various issues, and extended his gratitude for support to different political parties (the parties of “Holos” and “People’s Movement of Ukraine”).

Viktor Shchadey running for the city mayor of Uzhgorod, spent over USD 1,600 (UAH 45,900) for Facebook ads. Most candidate’s ads were discrediting his opponent Bohdan Andriyiv, and tounched upon the topic of COVID-19 and Voktor Shchadey’s plans to counteract the pandemic on the local level.

Campaigning activities of the pages of political parties

Overall, on October, 25, all political parties have significantly reduced their activity levels on Facebook, and mostly used the political ads tools to inform about their results at elections. There were only several political parties that continued their campaigning efforts for their candidates who were further running in the second round due on November, 22, or expressed their support to candidates from other political parties. Thus, over the period under monitoring, OPORA documented 8 party pages that expressed their support to mayoral candidates in different Ukraine’s regions. In total, the pages spent almost USD 7,600 (over UAH 213,000) for political ads on Facebook.

Party expenses for political ads

Page name

Amounts spent, USD



European Solidarity




Dnipro City Organization of the “Opposition Platform - For Life” PP


Svoboda AU – Rivne Oblast Organization


Holos. Cherkasy Oblast


Udovichenko Team – Native City


Rivne Region For the Future


Over the period under monitoring, the most active political pages were those of the “Holos” party – USD 4,500 (almost UAH 128,000) and of the “European Solidarity”. Both pages include the campaigning posts in support of a candidate from the “Holos” for the city mayor’s position of Cherkasy Viktor Yevpak. In addition, in their ads, parties were sharing the voting results, whereas the page of the “Holos” party also largely focused on the “weekend quarantine” and the constitutional crisis.

The page of the “Opposition Platform - For Life. Mykolayiv Region” spent USD 1,000 (about UAH 28,000) for online political campaigning. The party was actively campaigning for their candidate for the city mayor of Mykolayiv Vladyslav Chayka. All posts promoted by the page include videos of Chayka’s public speeches where he criticized present government and pledged campaign promises. Besides, they shared the candidate’s campaigning messages.

Another political force supporting a candidate from another party is the Rivne Regional Center of the Svoboda AU. They spent for political ads over USD 200 (ab. UAH 6,000). In their ads, the party encouraged to support the mayoral candidate for Rivne from the “Rivne Together” party Viktor Shakyrzian.

Activities of the third pages on Facebook

Other pages that are not owned by electoral actors have been active, too. They include the pages of politicians that supported certain candidates, such as candidates who dropped out of the race in the first round and declared their support to one of the candidates in the second round; local media publishing the paid materials, and some anonymous pages. The third pages were especially active in Dnipro, Uzhgorod, Lviv, and Cherkasy. OPORA documented 78 such pages that spent for Facebook ads almost USD 34,700 (over UAH 976,000).

Expenses incurred by the third parties for political ads

Page name

Amounts spent, USD

Петро Порошенко




Днепропетровск онлайн новости




Шо то буде?


Репортер Днепр


НеМамай – ніколи знову. Полтава


Ужгород без Андріїва


Схемы Днепра


Черкаси БЕЗ Васіліча


Among the pages, the highest amounts spent were by Petro Poroshenko, a leader of the “European Solidarity” party – over USD 3,000 (almost UAH 90,000). Most posts from the Poroshenko’s page targeted users from Lviv (15.54%) and Rivne (7.7%) Oblasts. In his political ads, Poroshenko extended gratitude to his voters for the support of his party in different cities and campaigned for the party members running in the second round of local elections – Oleh Syniutka (Lviv) and Oleksandr Tretiak (Rivne). He also expressed his support for the candidate from the “Holos” party at the elections of Cherkasy city mayor Viktor Yevpak.

The news outlet “Ужcity” (lit. – Uzh-city) spent over USD 2,500 (over UAH 77,000). All ads from the page are communicating active criticism of the incumbent city mayor in Uzhgorod Bohdan Andriyiv running for the second round.

The page of “Днепропетровск онлайн новости” (lit. – Dnipropetrovsk Online News) spent almost USD 2,000 (over UAH 56,000) during the monitoring period for political ads on Facebook. All the posts promoted by the page show signs of campaigning in favour of the political party “Opposition Platform - For Life!”

The anonymous page “Ужгород БЕЗ ГнОМИКІВ” (lit. – Uzhgorod WITHOUT the Gnomes) spent for political ads over USD 1,500 (over UAH 46,000). All political ads from the page were discrediting the mayoral candidate of Uzhgorod from the political party “Servant of the People” – Viktor Shchadey.

The anonymous page “Шо то буде?” (lit. – What happens next?) is dedicated to local elections, and spent USD 1,500 (almost UAH 45,000). The page was promoting 11 posts, of which 5 posts included videos where Petro Poroshenko expressed support to a candidate for Lviv city mayor Oleh Syniutka. The other 6 posts had videos where Vitaliy Lutsenko was rather unsupportive about Syniutka’s opponent for Lviv’s mayoral seat Andriy Sadovyi.

Preliminary analysis of voting results at local elections on October, 25, 2020

Civil network OPORA analyzed 39,813 persons elected as deputies to local councils or hromada leaders. It shall be noted that the CEC website has not yet posted any information on almost 4,000 newly-elected council deputies. It might have impacted the precision of statistical data represented in this report.

Party affiliation of the winners

In total, the most of mandates in the councils of all levels, and on the positions of city heads, have been won by self-nominated candidates – 18.1%; the “Servant of the People” party – 14.6%, the “Batkivshchyna” AU – 10.2%, “For the Future” – 9.5%, "Opposition Platform - For Life" – 9.4%, “European Solidarity” – 8.7%, “Nash Kray” – 4.2%, “Svoboda” AU – 2.2%, “Ukrainian Strategy of Groysman” – 1.5%, and the “Proposition” – 1.4%.

In regional councils, the biggest number of mandates has been gained by the following actors: “Servant of the People” – 17.6% of all the mandates, “European Solidarity” – 14%, "Opposition Platform - For Life" – 12.1%, “Batkivshchyna” AU – 11.1%, and “For the Future” – 10.6%. Overall, the 5 parties account for 65.4% of all elected deputies to regional councils.

In district councils, the biggest number of mandates has been gained by the following actors: "Opposition Platform - For Life" – 16.7% “Servant of the People” – 16.5%, “European Solidarity” – 13.2%, the “Batkivshchyna” AU – 9.5%, and  “For the Future” – 9.1%. Overall, the 5 parties account for 65% of all elected deputies to this type of councils.

In territorial communities with the number of voters OVER 10,000, the biggest number of seats has been gained by the following actors: “Servant of the People” – 15.4%, “European Solidarity” – 12.8%, “Opposition Platform - For Life” – 12.4%, the “Batkivshchyna” AU – 10.3%, and “For the Future” – 9.2%. Overall, the 5 parties account for 60.1% of the elected deputies.

In territorial communities with the number of voters UNDER 10,000, self-nominated candidates have a commanding lead – 39.1% of all elected candidates; followed by the representatives of the “Servant fo the People” – 12.9%, the “Batkivshchyna” AU – 10.7%, “For the Future” – 10%, and “Nash Kray” – 2,664 (4.8%). It shall be noted that the actors were leading in the same sequence in the number of nominated candidates to councils with the number of voters under 10,000.

Among the elected city, township, and village heads, most persons were running as self-nominees – 46.8%, “Servant of the People” accounts for 15.9% of the elected hromada leaders, “For the Future” – 6.4%, the “Batkivshchyna” AU – (4.8%), and the “Opposition Platform - For Life” – 3.7%.

Gender component

Overall, among all the elected candidates at local elections, 64.1% are men, 35.9% are women. To compare, 55.5% of the candidates were men, 44.2% were women. In other words, there were fewer women among the elected deputies to local authorities than among the candidates.

In regional councils, almost 28.2% of elected deputies are women; in district councils – 33.7%; in hromada councils with over 10,000 voters – 32.8%, in hromadas with under 10,000 voters – 41.6%. However, the lowest share of women is found among the elected city, township, and village heads – 16.8%. Nevertheless, it shall be noted that there were fewer women candidates for the positions.

Council type

Women elected, %

Women-candidates, %

Regional council



District council



hromadas over 10,000



hromadas under 10,000



City heads in hromadas



Separately, the highest representation of women among villahe heads is 21.1%. Among the township heads, the share is 16.5%, while the share of female mayors elected is as little as 9.3%.

Community type

Number of female mayors elected

Women, %










Among the political forces gaining the highest number of mandates in local elections, the highest share of elected women-candidates is found on the party lists of “Nash Kray” – 40.3% and the “Servant of the People” – 39.1%, while the lowest share rests with the “Svoboda” AU – 26%.

Nominating entity

Nuber of elected women-candidates

Women elected, %




Servant of the People



Batkivshchyna AU



Opposition Platform - For Life



For the Future



European Solidarity



Nash Kray



Svoboda AU



Ukrainian Strategy of Groysman






Radical Party of Oleh Liashko



Civil Network OPORA also analyzed the election methods of female candidates, in terms of the SMMC (list) or the territorial constituencies. The analysis found that in most cases there was practically the same share of women elected, both under SMMC and TC. In this case, there are excpetional regional councils where the number of women passing to the councils under the party list is twice as high as in the TC – 39.4% vs 18.6%.

Council type

Elected women candidates under the SMMC, %

Elected women candidates under the TC, %

Regional council



district а council



hromadas over 10,000



hromadas under 10,000


Overview of the election system functioning

Among over 21,000 candidates elected under the proportional election system (regional, district councils and councils of hromadas over 10,000), most persons passed under the SMMC (party lists) – 59.9% and as little as 40.1% passed under the TC. If not for the village and township hromadas, we could have almost identical parameters: under SMMC, 58.5% of deputies have been elected, and 41.5% have been elected under the TC.

Given the council types open for elections, the biggest chance to be elected within a constituency was possible in running to the regional council – 53.8%. At the same time, the share of hromada councils was as little as 36.9%. In other words, the bigger the constituency in the number of voters, the higher the chances to be elected within the constituency.

Council type


TC, %

Regional council



District council



Hromadas under 10,000



Among all the elected deputies, the necessary share for the electoral quota for promotion (over 25%) was gained by 52.6% candidates. Under 5% of electoral quota, was gained by 7% of candidates, and 40.4% gained between 5 and 24.99%. 

It shall be noted that following the election results, there are 41 people among the elected deputies who have not received a single vote (zero votes cast). Conversely, the highest share of the electoral quota was gained by the elects to Severodonetsk district council from the “Opposition Platform - For Life” – Hennadiy Minin – 638.34% and Ihor Ioffe – 441.97%.

% of the quota

% of deputies













over 100%


In terms of party components, the candidates were mostly elected under party lists (SMMC), rather than under the TC. Among the leaders of local elections, there are only the representatives of the “Opposition Platform - For Life” who were mostly elected in the constituency rather than under the party list.



TC, %

Svoboda AU



Batkivshchyna AU






For the Future



European Solidarity



Nash Kray



Servant of the People



Opposition Platform - For Life



It shall be noted that the self-nominees from the “Opposition Platform - For Life” most often overcame the 25% quota – in 64.1% of cases. Next follow the deputies from the “European Solidarity” – 53.7%, then followed by the “Servant fo the People” – 53.2% and “Nash Kray” – 50.9%.


under 25% of quota

over 25% of quota

Opposition Platform - For Life



European Solidarity



Servant of the People



Nash Kray



For the Future






Batkivshchyna AU



Svoboda AU



Practices of holding accountable for electoral fraud

Bringing to administrative responsibility 

As of today, over the period since September, 5 (the start day of election process), the Unified State Register of Judicial Decisions, has published 911 rulings in the cases of bringing to administrative responsibility for electoral administrative offence. Specifically, since November, 13, the register has added 200 new decisions. It is noteworthy that the Register does not include any appelate court decisions that would concern local elections.

In 31% of cases (290 cases), the case papers were sent back for finalization (for due paperwork). A guilty verdict was issued in 460 cases (50%). In other cases, the proceedings were dismissed on various grounds, either for the lack of the fact and elements of an administrative offense, or for being minor (Art. 22 of CUAO).

The biggest number of cases were traditionally considerded under Art. 212-13 of CUAO (producing or disseminating printed campaigning materials with no mandatory source data, 475 cases), under Art. 212-14 of CUAO (breaking the rules for placing campaigning materials, 271 cases), and under Art. 212-10 of CUAO (breaking the campaigning restrictions, 119 cases).

Substance of an administrative offence

Article of the Administrative Offense Code of Ukraine

Number of proceedings considered by the court

Breaking the statutory rules for keeping the State Register of Voters



Violating a citizen’s right for accessing the data from the State Register of Voters, from a list of voters



Breaking the rules for campaigning involving masss media



Breaking the campaigning restrictions



Violating the right for using the premises during the election campaign



Producing or disseminating printed campaigning materials with no mandatory source data


475 (of them, 62 cases cumulatively under Art. 212-13, 212-14) 

Breaking the rules for placing campaigning materials



Breaking the rules for offering or receiving financial (material) support for administering the campaigning activities



Ordering or producing ballot papers above the established quantity



Failure to provide a copy of a voting protocol



Failrue to execute the election commissions’ decision, a referendum commission’s decision



Refusal to dismiss an election commission ember from their operational or official duties, or their ungrounded dismissal from work



Breaking the rules for publication of documents related to the preparation and conduct of elections



Breaking the rules for submiting a financial report on receipt and use of money from the election fund, a party declaration on property, income, expenses, and financial liabilities



Public disclosure by a voter in election, in a referendum of their voting results at the polling premises



Damaging, hiding, destroying their ballot paper, referendum paper, or taking it outside the polling premises



Obstruction to the exercise of voting rights at elections, or a refrendum, or to the activities of electoral subjects, referendum subjects



Over the period of local elections, courts have not considered any case under Art. 212-8 of CUAO (violating a citizen’s right to access the information in the State Register of Voters, or the list of voters), Art. 212-16 of CUAO (ordering or producing ballot papers above the established quantity), Art. 212-17 of CUAO (failure to provide a copy of a voting protocol), Art. 212-18 of CUAO (failrue to execute the election commissions’ decision, a referendum commission’s decision), and under Art. 212-19 of CUAO (refusal to dismiss an election commission ember from their operational or official duties, or their ungrounded dismissal from work).

Analysis of cases breaking the election law deocumented during the observation campaign and lack of practices of bringing to administrative responsibility under certain Articles may lead to the following conclusions:

  • Introduction of e-services on the website of the State Register of Voters to access information from the register minimizes the number of cases when voters are not able to see the list.
  • Lack of proceedings under Article 212-16 of CUAO (ordering or producing ballot papers above the established quantity) shows that the description of a punishable offense in the article needs rephrasing, because, according to OPORA observers, high number of violations have been documented related to the broken rules for producing ballot papers (such as the numbers of constituencies were inconsistent, ballot papers failed to include certain candidates, production daedlines were violated). However, the administrative liability is only foreseen for cases of producing ballot papers exceeding the established quantity, which may in itself be as a certain stage of faking election documentation, qualifying as a criminal offense. 
  • According to the observation, failure to present a copy of a voting protocol and failure to execute an election commission’s decision were rather frequent types of offence; whereas the lack of proceedings on cases on administrative offense as to the violations may be explained by no authority mandated to the National Police to draw up protocols under the respective offence types. The CUAO entitles to draw up protocols under Articles 212-17, 212-18 only to election commission members, to the authorized persons, and to official observers. At the same time, the proper drawing of a protocol on administrative offence requires an offender familiarizing with the paper, the protocol shall include passport details, whereas commission members, candidates, authorized persons, and observers, unlike the National Police bodies, do not possess a competence to oblige persons to give to them the data needed for the protocol or to have them familiarize themselves with the contents. Besides, non of the above-mentioned actors have any specialized knowledge needed for the correct drawing up of the materials for administrative proceedings. Therefore, expanding the competence of the National Police to draw up protocols under Articles 212-17 and 212-18 of CUAO will increase the efficiency of bringing to responsibility for these types of administrative offence.

Judicial practices on criminal proceedings on the violations of voting rights of citizens at local elections

In a verdict of the Krasnopillia district court in Sumy Oblast of November, 9, 2020, in the case No 578/1268/20, a person, member of the PEC, was found guilty under part 3 of Art. 158-1 of the CC of Ukraine, for receiving ballot papers by a person not entitled therefor, and for the unlawful casting of a ballot paper into a ballot box. Specifically, a member of election commission unlawfully received a ballot paper and voted at elections of deputies to the Sumy regional council, Sumy district council, at elections of deputies to Myropillia village council, and for Myropillia village head of Sumy district, Sumy Oblast.

The materials in the case No 500/3507/20 considered under the Administrative Procedure Code of Ukraine include information about the available criminal proceedings No 12020210060000210, included into the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations on October, 26, 2020, under part three of Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and in the course of exercising investigative actions, a temporary access to original copies of voter lists was provided at polling stations No 610133, No 610150, No 610152, and No 610158, with signatures to confirm the receipt of ballot papers. Moreover, a complainant presented an evidence, such as the conclusions of the expert evaluation of Ternopil research and examination forensic center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, that state that the clarified voter lists at the polling stations included groups of signatures that were made by the same person in different lines in voter rolls. Presently, the investigation has established that at the polling stations in question, some voters have not voted in person, as they stayed abroad, or on a permanent residence outside Ternopil Oblast, that is why they had not participated in the voting at these polling stations. The courts dismissed the suit on the grounds that launching the criminal proceedings No 12020210060000210 for cause of breaking election law on October, 25, 2020, under part three of Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine does not signify the established violation of electoral law without the adopted procedural decision on bringing an offender to responsibility or incriminating them. However, the analysis of the decision prompts a satisfactory completion of the criminal proceedings on unlawful voting in lieu of persons who stayed abroad on election day.

Rulling of investigating judges on criminal proceedings that prove the active pre-trial investigation on certain criminal proceedings:

Article 157 of the CCU (obstruction to the exercise of voting rights)

1. In the case No 728/1902/20, the Ruling of an investigating judge of Bakhmach district court of Chernihiv Oblast granted the permission for temporary access to the information on the connections of end equipment of telecommunication services users administered through the terminals under the numbers declared by investigators. The criminal proceedings were included into the Unified State Register of Pre-Trial Investigations No 12020270070000543 of 20.10.2020, suggesting possible criminal offense foreseen by part 2 of Art. 157 of the CC of Ukraine upon notification that on 20.10.2020 at 00:45, an unidentified person who stayed in Bakhmach town at Shevchenka Street, damaged the banner with the election campaigning information about the mayoral candidate for Bakhmach town amalgamated hromada, Nizhyn district, during local elections in Chernihiv Oblast, thus violating electoral rights of an electoral subject. On the same case, the ruling of an investigating judge imposed arrest on a kitchen knife with a plastic holder, orange in color, that was used to damage the banner with the campaigning information in the case (case No 728/1899/20), and an arrest was attached to the banner with campaigning information (case No 728/1900/20). 

2. In the pre-trial proceedings No 12020270070000531 on the notification that the Internet resources and the Facebook pages shared fake information defaming a candidate and a political party, which obstructed the exercise of suffrage, the court granted a permission to investigators for temporary access to information on the connections of end equipment of the telecommunication services users (cases No 728/1879/20, No 728/1877/20).

Article 158 of the CCU (presenting untruthful data to the authorities of the State Register of voters or faking the data of the State Register of Voters)

1. In the case No 358/1246/20 on the criminal proceedings No 12020110090000346 of 20.10.2020, suggesting possible criminal offense foreseen by part 1 of Art. 158 of the CC of Ukraine, the monitoring of the social media, such as Facebook revealed a post telling that during the election campaign on the territory of Bohuslav district, it was identified a fact of registering citizens in several villages at the same time, such as in the village of Kydanivka – 49 citizens, Chayky village – 30 citizens, Bohuslav town – 38 citizens. Courts issued 5 rulings of October, 22, on launching the proceedings and assigning the claim for judicial inquiry; 5 rulings on the temporary access to items and documents, such as allowing access to see the original copies and seize the duly certified copies of documents with data about the place of residence for the period from 01.01.2020 to 10.09.2020, inclusive; in the same case, rulings were adopted of October, 26, on launching the proceedings and assigning the claim for judicial inquiry,  as well as about a temporary access to items and documents.

2. In the case No 463/10047/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020140040001282 of 22.10.2020, suggesting criminal offence foreseen by part 1 of Art. 158 of the CC of Ukraine, a ruling was adopted of October, 23, on temporary access to the original copies of documents (such as applications of citizens to change their electoral addresses, both in paper and in an electronic form; information on the previous electoral address, in the events when voters applying for changing of electoral address did not belong to the territory covered by the jurisdiction of the unit keeping the State Regiter of Voters of Lychakiv district administration of Lviv City Council; to election rolls at polling stations), with the possibility to seize them.

3. In the case No 359/8720/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020110100001880, on commission of criminal offense foreseen by part 1 of Art. 158 of the CC of Ukraine, on November,4, a ruling was issued to assign a preparatory meeting for 10:00 on 12.11.2020.

4. In the case No 372/3827/20 on criminal proceedings No12020110230001489 of 21.10.2020, suggesting criminal offence, foreseen by part 1 of Art. 158 of the CC of Ukraine (launched on the grounds of a deputy’s report claiming that a number of voters has increased at two polling stations within the Ukrayinka city hromada of Obukhiv district in Kyiv Oblast, such as at polling stations 320770 and 320768, which may suggest that voters provided untruthful information to the State Register of Voters on changing their voting places. On November,6, the court adopted a ruling on temporary access to documents that include ID data of persons who changed their registrations, and to reasons for the changes, with further seizure of the document copies.

Article 158-3 of the CC (Falsification, fabrication, stealing, damaging, or destroying election documentation; stealing, damaging, hiding, destroying an election commission’s seal, a ballot box, a voter roll)

  1. In the case No 387/965/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020120140000377 of 06.10.2020, suggesting criminal offence foreseen by part 2 of Art. 158-3 of the CC of Ukraine, the proceedings were launched due to the fact that on 05.10.2020 the telephone line "102" received a notification from the secretary claiming that on 05.10.2020, at about 6 p.m., at the commission session, a candidate informed that she had not submitted a candidate’s application in person, and the signature on the document had been faked. The court ruled on October, 21, to grant a temporary access and to seize (retrieve) the documents, such as an original copy of the personal file and the job descriptions, to be copyable.
  2. In the case No 358/1271/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020110090000354 of 27.10.2020, suggesting criminal offence (crime) foreseen by part 1 of Art. 158-3 of the CC of Ukraine, on the basis of a report from a person who claimed that she had found a paper envelope within the Bohuslav city TEC that contained the empty protocols of precinct election commissions. The court ruled on October, 29 to satisfy an investigator’s request to impose an arrest on the temporary seized property. 
  3. In the case No 358/1339/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020110090000358 of 30.10.2020, suggesting possible criminal offense foreseen under part 2 of Art. 158-3 of the CC of Ukraine, on the basis of a report from a mayoral candidate in Bohuslav claiming that on 25.10.2020, an unidentified person stayed in the polling station and allegedly falsified the election documentation, according to the claimant. The court ruled on November,11 to satisy the investigator’s request to grant temporary access to items and documents, and access was permitted to see and seize original copies of the clarified lists of voters at a regular polling station during local elections on October, 25, 2020, and the control vouchers handed out to a voter included on the voter list under No 248.
  4. The courts satisfied a complaint against the inaction of an investigator of Obukhiv PS of the Main Board of the NP in Kyiv Oblast, and as to the obligation to include the data to the URPI under this category of criminal offence in the case No 372/3858/20.

Article 160 of the CC (voter bribery)

1. Case No 730/892/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020270090000371 suggesting possible criminal offense foreseen under part 2 of Art. 160 of the CC of Ukraine.

The ruling of October, 23, 2020, on rejecting the claim to arrest the property to a prosecutor, and allocating 72 hours to eliminate the found shortcomings. Thus, an investigating officer requested to impose an arrest on the paper envelopes with bank notes in the amount of UAH 12,000, and sheets of paper with the personal data of people, seized in the car of the “Shkoda” make owned by citizens from the village of Mala Zahorivka, Borzna district. However, according to the court ruling, the investigating officer mentioned the money that have not been identified by stating a serial number of bank notes, whereas, the request have not mentioned a face value of the bank notes; which may give grounds to replace the physical evidence, and make it impossible to further identify them during the substantive consideration of the case. The on-site inspection report of 22.10.2020 does not mention a serial number and a face value of the bank notes, either. The report on examination of the seized bank notes is not available. The investigator also added the photocopies of documents to the request, against the requirements of par. 5.26, 5.27 of the “National Standards of Ukraine of the State Unified System for Documentation, a Unified System of the Organizational Adinistrative Docuemnts, Requirements to Drawing Up the Documents (DSTU 4163-2003),” approved by the Order of the State Committee of Ukraine for Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy of 07.04.2003 No 55; theye ere not duly certified (with no caption “in accordance with the original,” a position title of a person certifying the document, no signature of th eperson, and the name, or no certification date). Thus, the investigating judge was devoid of the possibility to verify the document’s identity to the original, whereas, the information contained therein had an essential value for the aadjudication of a case. Moreover, the request included two identical signatures that called into the well-grounded question the request’s approval by a prosecutor, as required by the criminal procedural law. On October, 27, 2020, upon eliminating the above mentioned shortcomings by the prosecutor, the court made a decision on arrest of property.

2. Case No 301/2242/20 on criminal proceedings No 12020070100000714, suggesting possible criminal offense foreseen under part 4 of Art. 160 of the CC of Ukraine, upon a report that on October, 25, 2020, in the town of Irshava, at the “Karpaty” store, a woman was exercising voter bribery, upon the prior arrangement with an unidentified person, when she offered to voters an improper advantage, such as the money in the amount of UAH 200, to endure the voters cast their votes for the “Nash Kray” political party running for Irshava amalgamated hromada and to Transcarpathia regional council. 

The courts ruled on October, 26, 2020 to arrest the property, such as the bank notes in the amount of UAH 800 (three bank notes with a face value of UAH 200, each, and two bank notes of UAH 100); the А4 size sheets of paper, one of which had a printed text on one side - “Regular local elections on October, 25, 2015, Control Voucher;” while the other side had a hand-written text with names of 12 people, and a fragment of the А4 sheet of paper with a line “Political party Nash Kray,” and mayoral candidate name for Irshava city council, a candidate for deputies to the regional council, and a mobile telephone; a ruling of November, 4, on launching the proceedings upon the request to lift the arrest on property in the criminal proceedings, and later, on November, 6, – a ruling on lifting the arrest on property for reasons that the mobile telephone owner was not attending a court hearing when a decision was decided on imposing the arrest on property. A copy of the ruling by the investigating judge of 26.10.2020 on imposing an arrest was delivered on 31.10.2020 (according to part 1 of Art.174 of the CPC of Ukraine, other owner or holder of property who was not attending a session considering the issue of property arrest shall be entitled to file a request to cancel the property arrest, in full scope, or in part, if they prove that further application of the measure is no longer needed, or if the arrest had been unlawfully imposed); under a ruling of November, 11 that partially satisfied the investigator’s request for temporary access to items, the court granted a temporary access to video-surveillance cameras only, allowing to seize the camera records (extract) for the period from 08:00 a.m. to 12:00 on October, 25, 2020. 

Analysis of key legal proceedings

For the execuition of judgement of the Supreme Court, the CEC obliged the Karolino-Buhaz village TEC to declare void the elections in the hromada.

On November, 18, the Central Election Commission adopted a resolution “On execution of a judgement of the Supreme Court of November, 12, 2020, in the case No 855/111/20;” it obliged the Karolino-Buhaz village territorial election commission to resolve an issue, without undue delay, on declaring void the elections of deputies to Karolino-Buhaz village council on October, 25, 2020, in multi-ember constituencies No 1 – 5, 7, and on setting the repeated elections in multi-member constituencies No 1 – 5, 7; and also on declaring void the elections of the Karolino-Buhaz village head, and on setting the repeated elections of the Karolino-Buhaz village head, of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi district, Odesa Oblast.

Shortly before, the Supreme Court ruled to partially satisfy the complainants’ requests and canceled the decision of the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeals of November, 8, that rejected the claim to these complainants. Upon considering the appeal from the judgement, The Supreme Court declared unlawful the inaction of the Central Election Commission which “lied in the fact that the CEC failed to take measures to resume electoral rights [of claimants] to be elected” and obliged the CEC to take the decisions “aimed at resuming electoral rights” of the citizens in question.

City of Kryvyi Rih (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast) 

On November, 16, 2020, at  08:00 a.m., the Dnipropetrovsk District Administrative Court received a legal claim from a mayoral candidate of Kryvyi Rih running from a city’s branch of the “Servant of the People” party, against the territorial election commission where the claimant’s lawyer requested from the court to declare the protocol on voting results as such that does not comply with legal requirements (illegal) and to cancel the protocol of voting results at mayoral elections in Kryvyi Rih, with the “Clarified” note as TEC failed to provide any explanations or justifications, and no discrepancy reports have been darwn up, the violations were not the subject for discussion at the TEC meeting when establishing the voting results, also through the “Elections” system; there are certain discrepancies that indicate to the wrongfulness of protocols and are the grounds for cancellation. On November, 17, in the case No 160/15057/20, the court made a decision to reject the legal claims; in particular, it was stated that the mentioned software was not used in the conduct of local elections, but only in the vote count at the Presidential and at the Parliamentary elections; as to discrepancies declared by the claimant, the matter has already been a subject for judicial consideration in the case on contesting the initial TEC protocol on voting results.

City of Kharkiv

One notewrothy case is No 520/15883/2020, where a candidate for the city mayor of Kharkiv contested a resolution No 98 of Kharkiv city territorial election commission in Kharkiv district, Kharkiv Oblast, of 07.11.2020, “On the Registration of Kharkiv City Mayor” that settled the application to register the city ayor of 07.11.2020 No1015 submitted by H.Kernes elected as the Kharkiv city mayor. She justified her lawsuit with the arguments that the file “Application for registration as a city mayor. doc.р7s” received in the inbox of the Kharkiv city territorial election commission of Kharkiv district, Kharkiv Oblast, should not have been taken into consideration by the respondent, since the application from H.Kernes to be registered as the Kharkiv city mayor had not been signed by a qualified electronic signature of an individual Kernes H.A., but by a qualified electronic signature of a public official and a legal entity – the Kharkiv city council (ID 04059243); therefore, under part 4 of Art.18 of the Law of Ukraine “On electronic authorized services,” the electronic signature did not have the equal legal force as the personal signature of H.Kernes. The courts established that the qualified signature, and thus, the qualified certificate, included all the data set by the law and identified a signatory, specifically H.Kernes. The fact that the above-mentioned Protocol stated the organization, the Kharkiv City Council, did not have any legal meaning, according to the court, as it was nothing but the additional attribute, in the eye of part 3 Art. 23 of the Law of Ukraine “On Electronic Authroized Services”  that shall not affect the interoperability and recognition of the qualified electronic signatures, as mentioned in the same article. Therefore, the court dismissed the claim. 

On November, 13, the Second Administrative Court of Appeals of Kharkiv satisfied in part the claim from Oleksiy Vats, a candidate for a people’s deputy from the "Servant fo the People.” In the decision in the case No 520/15545/2020, the court obliged the Kharkiv city TEC to “continue actions to establish voting results at elections of deputies to the Kharkiv city council.” However, the previous decisions of the Second Administrative Court of Appeals and the Kharkiv District Administrative Court shall be taken into account. The courts considered the claims from candidates of the "Opposition Platform - For Life" on the vote re-count at 11 polling stations in Shevchenkivskyi and Slobidskyi city districts. 

Thereupon, Kharkiv city TEC drew up a new protocol on establishing voting results at elections to a city council of November, 14, 2020. At the same time, on November, 18, the Kharkiv District Administrative Court satisifed in part the claim from a candidate for deputies to the Kharkiv city council Oleksiy Vats. The court dismissed the vote count protocol at elections to city council of November, 14, 2020, and obliged the Kharkiv city TEC to execute the actions determined by the court. Another part of the stated claims, on declaring void the elections, and setting the repeated elections, was dismissed. To date, the decision has not come into force yet.

Protecting the right for observation in the court

On November, 19, Mykolayiv district administrative court considered a case No 400/5167/20 and satisfied the suit from the official observer of the Civil Network OPORA against the Mykolayiv City territorial election commission, and obliged to register the organization’s observers to observe at the second voting round at elections of Mykolayiv city head on November, 22, 2020. The court concluded that Electoral Code of Ukraine provided for the registration of official observers on the stage of repeated voting, since the election process has not completed.


For the territorial and precinct election commissions:

Consistently ensure conditions supporting lawful activities of the official observers representing candidates, political party organizations, and civil society organizations.

Observe the anti-epidemic measures during their meetings and other forms of activity.

For the National Police of Ukraine:

Promptly investigate reports on organized vote buying as published by the media, social networks, and election participants.

For the candidates, subjects of the election process:

Refrain from spreading knowingly any false information about the contenders.

Abandon covert campaigning in the media that is carried out thanks to the existent political ties between election participants and TV channel owners.

For national and local media:

Avoid violating, directly and indirectly, the Electoral Code provisions for unbiased and impartial coverage of the election process.