On the 15th of April a round-table “Ways of removing discrimination of electoral rights of Ukrainian citizens abroad” was held in the conference-hall of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The event was conducted on the initiative of Oleg Pankevych, Head of Caritas Ukraine Migration Service, people’s deputy and Deputy Chairman in the Committee on European integration.
According to the UNO among 70 million migrants of different nationalities, 10% are Ukrainians that amounts to 8 million of people. But it is only an official number; in fact, the quantity of Ukrainian migrants is greater and is considerably growing during seasonal migration peaks. On average, the general population of Ukraine abroad equals to nearly 25%.
During a round-table there was a discussion of draft law of Ukraine “About introducing alterations to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on securing voting abroad” №4595. In opening speech event moderators Oleg Pankevych and Grygoriy Seleshchuk pointed out that adoption of this legislative proposal is very important for protection of electoral rights of Ukrainians abroad.
Grygoriy Seleshchuk noted that after adoption of this document the next step should be a legislation proposal that concerns distance voting: “There are post and e-mail voting in the world’s practice. Providing such possibilities is another important step in the expression of will of every Ukrainian.”
Head of the Ukrainian Association of Murcia region (Spain) Larysa Ponomarenko retold that distance from her place of dwelling to the nearest electoral district in Malaga (Spain) makes 460 kilometers. “The electoral district, located in our consulate, doesn’t have enough room for everyone willing to vote. In 2012 there were 1200 voters, this year we added to the register of voters 1200 people. Electoral district is situated on the second floor of the residential building – it creates great inconveniences. For the last two weeks in Murcia I collected nearly 1000 signatures with the request to open a separate electoral district,” pointed out Larysa Ponomarenko.
Furthermore, during a round-table in Verkhovna Rada there was also a discussion about introducing changes to laws on elections regarding making alterations in the register of voters on the Election Day. This idea was expressed by Head of the Central Union of Ukrainians in Germany Oleksiy Yemelyanenko. “We had a precedent, – explained civil society leader, – when on elections in 2010 it was possible to introduce changes to the lists on the Election Day; that year 860 Ukrainians voted in Frankfurt. In 2012 only 340 people voted here, because it was possible to make final changes only 6 days before voting. It is accepted when a person on that very day will have a possibility to be included in the register of voters – 80% of questions on right to vote of Ukrainians abroad will be solved.”
Moreover, participants of the meeting discussed creation of new electoral districts for voting of Ukrainian migrants, because lack of electoral districts complicates the process of will expression.
In draft law “About introducing alterations to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on securing voting abroad” it is suggested to increase the number of electoral districts. To achieve this goal it is required to receive appeals of Ukrainian civic unions “on the basis of at least 500 intercessions of Ukrainian citizens on opening of electoral districts according to their place of dwelling within one administrative-territorial unit”.