The distance from a deputy to a voter.

Local elections, National elections, Research

The distance from a deputy to a voter_eng

Representation as an effective link between voters and legislators is a key factor to the proper functioning of a modern democracy.

In 2024, elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine should be held according to the electoral system, which has not yet been used in the parliamentary elections in Ukraine – a kind of proportional electoral system with open lists. It was introduced in the Electoral Code, which was adopted on December 19, 2019. The leading role will be played by the parties – and new approaches will be needed to properly ensure the representative function. After all, incentives for deputies to work and interact with voters more actively or less actively also depend on the electoral system.

At the same time, no research has been conducted on how the work of deputies in the constituency and communication with voters as well as accessibility of deputies of Ukraine (“distance from a deputy to a voter”) may change due to the application of the new electoral system.

This study was conducted by the Ukrainian Center for Social Data with the support of the USAID RADA Program, which is implemented by the Eastern Europe Foundation.

The following was done during the study:

– review of Ukrainian legislation,
– review of international experience of interaction with voters,
– data collection and analysis of the existing infrastructure of interaction with voters in Ukraine,
– modeling the impact of the electoral system on the “distance from deputy to voter”
– nationwide survey of citizens on priority ways of interaction with deputies.

Based on the results of the research, recommendations have been prepared to improve the communication between deputies and voters.

You can find the report here
(Attention: English translation is not official, was carried out by Rada Program

Main conclusions are:

  • The proportional electoral system with open lists increases the theoretical “distance from deputy to voter.”
  • Under the new electoral system, the main role is played not by individual deputies, but by parties.
  • Local branches and offices of the parties should become communication centers for voters’ and deputies.
  • The existing of a cell of the certain level should be mandatory for the nomination of candidates to the council of respective level.
  • In terms of state funding of political parties, a fixed percentage of funds should be provided for targeted funding of local party offices and their staff.
  • Standards, requirements and guidelines should be developed and implemented on methods, tools for interacting with voters, functional responsibilities of support staff, and the methods of respective budget expenditures should be identified.
  • To ensure the representation of individual territories, it is necessary to develop a algorithm for assigning a deputy to the certain territory.
  • It is necessary to develop and implement a universal system of online reception desks of deputies, within the integrated system of electronic document management (with distributed access for voters, deputies, assistants, parties, party factions, etc., and data exchange with other information systems).
  • Due to the shift of the main role in the interaction of deputies with voters to political parties, a large-scale information campaign is needed, which will inform about the ways and opportunities for deputies to communicate with voters in the new electoral system.