Once a boy took a picture of his ballot for what he later got 200 hryvnias. After this, his mother locked him up at home for five years and forced to learn the Ukrainian legislation. Opinion has already learned everything for you and is ready to tell how to behave at a polling place, what tick to put and why a T-shirt with a candidate’s portrait is not the best dress code for election.
The first and the simplest rule of all – all citizens of Ukraine who at the moment of election turned 18 can vote. The only exception is those who are found incapable by the court. Others automatically have the right to vote, so they are considered the voters. Nothing and nobody can prevent you from exercising this right.
What to bring with you to the election?
In order to receive a ballot paper at the polling station, the document which proves your identity would be fine. Showing it to everyone is unnecessary, the election officer in charge is enough. What these documents might be?
If you vote in Ukraine – the passport is enough (the book-like one or the card, whatever). You don’t have it for some reason? The temporary certificate of a citizen of Ukraine will be suitable instead. And for military servicemen, a military ticket will do.
If you plan to visit the polling place abroad, the passport for traveling abroad is just fine. Or diplomatic or service passports.
The documents – with me, I am – at the polling station, what’s next?
Then everything is very simple: you should contact the election officers, submit a document, leave your signature in certain places and receive a ballot paper.
- Only the election officer has the right to hand out the ballot.
- No fillings or marks, additional tags or symbols must be in your ballot.
If everything is fine, go straight to the voting booth – there you will make your choice, no benches, chairs, window sills, or whatever.
How to vote so that my voice is included?
It’s a piece of cake! Find the first and the last name of the candidate (be careful since the surnames of some candidates can coincide) and leave a mark in the box opposite – a “plus” or a “tick”.
Remember, you can vote for only one of the candidates for the presidency. If you feel like “I would choose two of them” – you have to define. It’s better to do, of course, on the eve or before entering the voting booth. But nobody can hurry you up.
After making your choice, the easiest remains – to cast the ballot into the ballot box. But you need to do this so that your choice remains unknown to others. To do this – fold up your ballot paper several times.
If there is more than one tick in the ballot, or none, or Mona Lisa is drawn or even the Emblem of Ukraine – it will be considered invalid.
However, if the ballot is spoilt by chance, you have the full right to file a spoilt ballot to the officers, write the relevant application and receive a new ballot. This time be more careful. There will be no chance to get a new ballot.
Remember, at the polling place some restrictions are at play.
Don’t take pictures. You can allow the selfie next to the polling place to report to your subscribers about the successful voting but remember: no photos in the booth, neither yours or pictures with the ballot. Even if this picture claims to be yours or your mom’s – we are all equal, and we bear the same responsibility for violations.
Do not agitate. The day of silence – March 30, but on the day of the election, March 31, agitation is definitely not the case. And even if you have an awesome T-shirt with a portrait of your candidate (or symbols against the other), a cool pin or a cap with a candidate’s logo – leave it at home. Especially if you plan to go to the election. Otherwise, I don’t promise you will be let inside.
Don’t advise others for whom to vote. Maybe, someone will be surprised but this is the same agitation. It is possible to argue about shortcomings or advantages of candidates at home, or, even more easily, on the Internet. At the polling station, you have the right to the free expression of will so respect the same right of other voters.
Don’t come inside the voting booth with other persons. Even if this is the love of your life or a classmate whom you haven’t seen for centuries. And even if you came to the polling station with the whole family. Nobody can be in the booth except for the voter with the ballot.
Exception – persons who due to physical disabilities can’t independently fill out the ballot. Then with permission of the election judge or any other polling worker, you can use the help of another voter, except for the members of electoral guards, presidential candidates, their representatives or official monitors.
Do not take a ballot outside the polling station. Yes, it can be a cool souvenir or even a good design solution in your apartment but at the same time, these actions can be seen as the preparation for fraud. The place of a ballot is in a special box.
At the same time, don’t be shy.
If at the polling station something remains unclear, you have the full right to turn to the polling workers. The representatives of the commission are aware of these questions and their answer is important for you.
Violation is not the thing that has to be ignored. Moreover, no need to be silent. The electoral officers, monitors, candidates, and voters – anyone can violate, don’t leave unnoticed. Even more, they can violate outside the polling station – the bribery of voters, blackmailing, fearmongering, etc. All of this must be punished.
Remember: reporting the violation is normal and right. The silence, in this case, is not just indifference and inaction. It can help the perpetrators to undermine the election, to forge the votes or even change the future of your country. In any case – don’t be silent.
Remember your rights.
No one can force you to vote. Everything is just simple: if you want to – go to the polling place, if you don’t – stay at home, make breakfast, watch TV, etc. The participation in the election (presidential as well) is absolutely volunteer. But please, don’t think that your vote means nothing. This is precisely your vote that can change everything.
The electoral right is equal. It means that each of us takes part in the election on an equal footing. No “top” or “main” electorate with any privilege exists. The main is you and each of us. We all equally influence the result and have absolutely the same rights, regardless of sex, age, post or a bunch of other differences.
You have the only vote as well as others. The exercising of this right is allowed only at one polling station where you are included into the list of voters.
The election is free. You can count on providing conditions for the free expression of will at the voting. No one has the right to frighten you or put pressure on you. Just like trying to buy your vote.
The voting is secret. No one for any reason has the right to control your expression of will, take photos of you or film you in the voting booth. However, you also should take this into account: showing off your ballot, even with the prettiest tick on the record is just inappropriate.
Text by Dmytro Zhuravel
Illustrations by Nataliia Stakhnova