In response to our appeal the Central Election Commission had officially responded that each polling station will be equipped with a sign as big as A4 paper format stating “This room is under video surveillance”. The sign has to be placed to a generally visible spot.
Central Election Commission clarifies in their response that cameras will survey two spots – the place where voters are getting the ballot and the boxes where the ballots are put to. The voting booths will not be observed.
However the location of cameras will not be announced to voters at the station, only that the actions in the polling place will be recorded.. There will be no warning sign that the voting booths are not being watched by the cameras.
It means that most voters may imply they are being watched at the voting booth as well.
We were informed about the TV announcements on the surveillance procedure during the voting. These TV spots informed viewers that the cameras at the polling stations would not observe the process of casting the vote itself. However none of the project team members, nor 200+ volunteers seen such an announcements themselves. Even if the state starts a massive campaign on TV with announcements about the voting booths being private, they will be largely annihilated by the sign “This room is under video surveillance”, that people see at the polling stations.
We proposed to put mandatory signs at the polling stations “You are not surveyed when you vote” however the Central Election Commission decided otherwise.
The warning sign “This room is under video surveillance” in supermarkets is supposed to scare of potential theft but Ukrainian practice shows it does not. On the contrary it will definitely scare off older people and those who are afraid their vote could be revealed to their superior – people who work in government funded institutions such as schools, hospitals, administrations, transportation, etc.
Full text of the Central Election Commission’s response in Ukrainian is here.