PPA steps up Ida-Viru County electoral fraud surveillance activity

PPA officer's high-vis vest (photo is illustrative).
PPA officer's high-vis vest (photo is illustrative). Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) says it will be closely monitoring several municipalities in Ida-Viru County, which, it says, have a high risk of electoral fraud, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Sunday.

Four of the eight Ida-Viru municipalities will be the subject of the PPA's scrutiny, namely Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve, Narva and Sillamäe, in activity which includes pre-emptive interviews with candidates running in those constituencies.

Head of the PPA's eastern prefecture Tarvo Kruup told AK that: "We have really selected those municipalities where the risk or threat of corruption is highest. How we assess our threats and risks is very simple.

"We look back at the past and assess whether there are risks in one place or another that are related to corruption or, in this case, electoral fraud," Kruup continued.

Kruup added that while the PPA welcomes civic initiatives aimed at cracking-down on electoral fraud, which could include vote-buying and ID fraud, the first point of contact should always be the authorities.

He said: "Any citizens' initiative that reduces corruption or increases the integrity of the elections is very welcome. But the PPA should still be the first place to report incidents. It is important that information reaches the police, quickly so we can quickly check reports and tip-offs."

Suspicions should be reported by dialling 112 or emailing the PPA's dedicated anti-corruption address here.

Three individuals were sentenced for criminal offences after the 2017 local elections after being found guilty of vote-buying.

The PPA also urges the public to be careful with ID cards and their PIN codes, in case they get into the wrong hands.

Estonia's much-vaunted e-voting system has been in place for 15 years now. Changes to the processes at the local elections, whose advance voting period starts Monday, include no "dark" period between advance voting and polling day, Sunday. Previously, a couple of days where no voting took place separated the two.

E-votes can be cast during advance voting online, and can be re-cast as often as a voter wishes. This is in part aimed at reducing the risk of coercive voting, in effect, if an individual votes while another individual is at their shoulder.

Polling day, Sunday October 17, sees only paper votes at polling booths. The paper vote overrides any e-vote the individual may have cast.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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