Op-ed in the Kyiv Post
My thoughts on being an election monitor in Odessa made it into the Kyiv Post, under a slightly misleading title– it was two of my fellow observers who had the truly grueling experience. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t call what I went through a survivor story.
The point in a nutshell: while many problems were reported with the election, very few of them were the types of things I would be able to see as an election monitor, and much of what I did see suggested that some polling stations really did make an honest effort. The implication, not fleshed out, is that observers have very limited uses. A few scandals did pass before some of us personally, but the biggest problems with the election were set into motion before any of us picked up our official registration cards, or happened behind the scenes or out of most vote count rooms.
Adrian Karatnycky also published a sort-of-provocative piece today. There were certainly serious problems, he says, but he argues that they were not enough to change the final results. In fact, he believes the election represents a fairly accurate demographic of voting preferences. It may very well be true– but I myself would not be willing to reach any conclusions about the matter without a lot of hard, reliable data.
My article was originally published under a more provocative title, “What election fraud?” and the editors kindly changed it at my request. Lest I be accused of getting paid off (as Karatnycky inevitably is in the comments section), I emphasize that I only repeat what I saw or what I was told in person– for those things I did not and could not have seen that undermined the credibility of the elections, another source (of the many out there reporting violations) is needed.