UARU
The Effect Of Corruption On Ukraine's Electoral Process
6 June, 2016
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What You Need To Know:

✓ Technical parties and the control of election commissions can affect election outcomes and the electoral process;

✓ If a party and its technical parties control the officers ”they do a little better in the polling stations;”

✓ A technical party is a “formally registered party whose main purpose is not to win seats for itself but rather to serve in a supportive role for another party, for its patron;”

✓ However, technical parties have not disappeared with the deterioration of the Party of Regions network: “it is a phenomenon that cuts across the party system.”

Erik Herron, a Professor at West Virginia State University together with Ukrainian NGO Tsyfrahrup conducted studies that show how technical parties and the control of election commissions can affect election outcomes and the electoral process. With cooperation from the Central Electoral Commission, Herron and the NGO collected data on members of polling station commissions. Commissioners produce a list of individuals who can then change their affiliation, location and position before the election occurs. “By tracing those networks you can see who is associated with whom, what technical parties are associated with what patrons,” says Herron, adding that, if a party and its technical parties control the officers ”they do a little better in the polling stations.” This should not happen if a commission is neutrally managed.

A technical party is a “formally registered party whose main purpose is not to win seats for itself but rather to serve in a supportive role for another party, for its patron,” says Herron. The 2012 parliamentary elections in Ukraine saw many technical parties associated with the Party of Regions: “One of the benefits you get by having technical parties associated with you is you can get more seats on precinct polling station election commissions. By controlling those commissions, you can influence the results.” In a very close election, this could make a difference: “In a close presidential race it could matter.”

However, technical parties have not disappeared with the deterioration of the Party of Regions network: “it is a phenomenon that cuts across the party system.”

Hromadske’s Josh Kovensky spoke to Erik Herron, Professor at West Virginia State University in May 2016 in Kyiv.