The Price of a Vote
Among the items are bags with buckwheat, champagne with a picture of a candidate and other weird things used to bribe voters. More details on this unusual expo that demonstrates the peculiarities of Ukrainian election process in this story!
A voter bribe expo, with displays of pre-election gifts given to voters, was organized by activists of the civil movement “Chesno” at the National Museum of History.
At the expo, one could see a large cake displayed, that is, at least, an artificial one.
There were other sweet treats – examples of candidates gifts to voters – displayed as well, such as traditional Ukrainian Easter Breads with packaging bearing the names of candidates. There were umbrellas and raincoats with emblems of political parties and among the rare exhibits – pre-election alcohol, like champagne.
Voters could pour champagne into a cup with candidates’ logos as well. Or, if they felt sick after overeating or overdrinking, they could take some medicine from a first aid kit, also with candidates’ logos. Some candidates even offered voters an opportunity to get their blood pressure measured.
“We have a lot of people whose standard of living is very low. And of course, buying a blood pressure monitor is very expensive for a senior. And if she were offered one – she’d never part with it. We were looking for showpieces, begged people to give them. Many did not want to give us the memorabilia,” Chesno Civic Movement Communications Specialist Yulia Reshytko said. “According to Ukrainian electoral laws – the maximum expenses per voter during a campaign can be no more than 57 hryvnias (about $2). But our politicians are very sly and know very well how to handle that. They use charity funds. So an item has a name of a politician on it, but technically the politician is not involved.”
Organizers say that the goal of the expo is to show that voters deserve fair elections, not buckwheat bribery.
“We opened this exhibition just before the elections to show that bribery is unacceptable. You have to talk about the candidates’ goals and their political programs. Stop tossing food at voters,” Chesno Civic Movement Coordinator Vita Dumanska said.
The exhibition is open through Aug. 10.