Allegations of vote rigging in Donetsk Oblast in favor of President Petro Poroshenko during the March 31 presidential election have emerged in recent days, according to police and election watchdogs.

Donetsk Oblast police reported on April 2 that they have opened criminal cases into alleged voting fraud in the city of Bakhmut and in Mangush District. The Opora election watchdog also said it was looking into the alleged violations.

Kostyantyn Khivrenko, a spokesman for the Central Election Commission, denied the accusations of voting fraud. He said the commission could only address accusations of vote rigging confirmed by documents.

Poroshenko’s campaign spokesman Oleg Medvedev also denied the accusations, saying that international observers had praised the election as transparent.

However, Andriy Grudkin, an election observer from civil society group Sylny Gromady at district commission No. 52 in the town of Toretsk, told the Kyiv Post that there had been large-scale ballot stuffing in favor of Poroshenko in Toretsk.


Your New City, a civil society group in Toretsk, said that large-scale vote rigging and assaults on election observers had taken place in the city. The group also said that “suspicious groups of people” had been present at most polling stations.

The group said that unknown people had stuffed ballots at polling station No. 140702 and fled. Your New City also published a photo of the allegedly stuffed ballots.

Presidential candidate Yuriy Karmazin’s representative Valentyna Erimicheva published a video from polling station No. 140704 in Toretsk in which she shows what she says is neat stack of stuffed ballots in favor of Poroshenko.

Pro-Russian candidate Yuriy Boyko was the leader in Donetsk Oblast in the election, but some polling stations in civilian areas stand out with anomalously high percentages for Poroshenko in contrast to other civilian polling stations.

Boyko said on April 1 that he saw this as evidence of vote fraud. He said he had received 38 percent on average in the oblast, while Poroshenko got 8 percent.


In Toretsk, there are three polling stations where Poroshenko won with 68.4 percent, 57.1 percent and 72.3 percent.

There are also polling stations with 63.9 percent and 61.3 percent for Poroshenko in Bakhmut, and with 27.8 percent and 41.3 percent for Poroshenko in the city of Volnovakha.

Nationwide, Poroshenko won 15.9 percent of the vote.

Other polling stations where Poroshenko won were in the village of Shcherbinivka, which reported 47.7 percent for Poroshenko.  In the village of Petrivka the president won 66.9 percent, in the village of Oleksandro-Shultyne 39 percent, in the town of Druzhkivka 70.2 percent, in the village of Zaitseve 36.5 percent, in Ocheretyne 53.5 percent, in the village of Novoselivska Persha 51.5 percent, in the village of Pokrovske 69.8 percent, in the town of Yalta 46.6 percent, and in the town of Urzuf 73.2 percent.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based electoral geographer Alexander Kireev and Roman Udot, who works at the Russian independent election monitoring agency Golos, published charts that they say show large-scale deviations from the normal distribution of votes in Donetsk Oblast, which they interpret as tampering in favor of Poroshenko.


A distribution of votes for Poroshenko in Donetsk Oblast (Roman Udot). 

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