Crowd-sourcing and the Ukrainian Elections

After learning about crowd-sourcing from our guest lecturer I began to research other ways in which it can be used for development. I came across an article from the Washington Post titled, “Can crowd-sourcing keep corruption at bay?

The article discusses how high corruption rates in Ukraine are threatening to affect the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections. The fairness of this election is going to help other nations decide whether or not Ukraine has a democracy, and it will determine many agreements, like trade, between Ukraine and the European Union. The country was dropped down to a ranking of “Partly Free” by the democracy organization Freedom House in 2011. Freedom House has also stated that corruption is the number one threat to Ukrainian democracy.

According to an OSCE Election Observation report, as of October 19 there had already been abuse of administrative resources, violent threats towards campaign workers, and several more reports of other campaign violations. In order to reduce corruption during the campaign, one organization has created a plan to use everyday citizens to make a most honest election.

The organization is ElectUA, and they have created a crowd-sourcing system that allows citizens to submit reports of violations. As you can see on the map in the article, there have already been over 1,000 reports submitted. The red dots on the map represent confirmed cases of violation, and the blue dots are reported cases not yet confirmed.

I think this is an incredible way to use crowd-sourcing as a means of fostering development. If Ukraine can have a fair election with little to no corruption, they have the potentially to be raised to democratic status. This would mean a lot for the political development of the country and its international relationships. This is another great example of how a crowd-sourcing technique is fostering development.


3 responses to “Crowd-sourcing and the Ukrainian Elections

  • cgalley

    Like you, I find this use of ICT exciting, but I do have a couple reservations. Who will use the crowdsourced map to follow-up and crackdown on corruption? Does the Ukrainian police force have the right buy-in and interests to take care of this? And how can the submissions be verified? How can we be sure political groups or corrupt officials don’t access the technology and manipulate it for their own benefit?

  • dlach

    I definitely share some concerns about this initiative, but it sounds like I might be a bit more optimistic, as the “unconfirmed” vs. “confirmed” map system might offer some legitimacy to the input. Also, I would hope that the potential benefit for citizens will persuade them to check in frequently and support/denounce other reports. Interesting article!

  • dtindall8

    I think that this initiative is promising, but I wonder if it will just force the Ukrainian government to be a bit sneakier about their election fraud. In any case, it definitely seems like a good idea to deter blatantly un-democratic actions such as violent threats.

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