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Ukrainians Document Election Irregularities on Social Media

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, November 5 2012

Social media played a prominent role in reporting results and irregularities in Ukraine's October 28 national elections, which were widely viewed as far from ideal in terms of a level playing field and transparency.

The Kyiv Post reports that Ukrainians took to social media platforms in droves to report violations at polling stations, with many using the hashtags #вибори2012 and #ukrainevotes, while others reported violations to Maidan.org.ua, which uses the Twitter handle @sitemaidan.

Maidan was the go-to account for up-to-the-minute reports on election violations. And it was first to report on the temporary closing of polling stations in Odessa, due to some magic markers.

“Violation: 3 voting stations in Odessa report that regular pens were replaced with dissapearing ink [sic],” it reported on Twitter. By evening the organization had posted further news about the pens. “Update: invisible ink pens have been found in 49 of the 86 polling stations in the Kiev district of Odessa. See a video with these pens in a previous tweet.”

But Maidan wasn’t the only user tweeting accusations of violations. Citizens and foreign observers also took to the social network to voice their concern.

“Officially observing the elections in #Ukraine today. Reports of violations are flooding in,” tweeted Stephan Bociukiw, who, according to his profile, is an intern at Kyiv’s E2market.com.

Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, recognizable for the distinctive platinum hair braids she wears pinned on top of her head, has been on a hunger strike since October 29 to protest what she says is a fraudulent election.

Reuters reports there was an opposition protest rally yesterday in central Kiev over alleged vote rigging in various districts.

Meanwhile, a report issued by the Council of Europe pulls no punches in its description of the elections, quoting monitors and observers who characterize them as lacking transparency and tilted by biased media reports.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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