The Kyiv Post reported many voting violations during Luhansk Oblast’s independence referendum from Ukraine. In Luhansk, people found no electoral rolls, and armed men reportedly received a jump in line.
“Warriors vote without queuing,” a woman reportedly shouted, as three men wielding Kalashnikovs were ushered in to vote ahead of others.
This particular polling station was set up next to a Ukraine Security Service building which had been occupied by the pro-Russian forces. The people in charge of the station reportedly said there was no need for electoral rolls because the station was meant for the protesters in a camp by the building. According to the Kyiv Post, people freely took ballots, checked off yes or no, and placed them in a glass box.
There were reportedly some who do not live in Luhansk who voted, and at least one person was said to have voted five times:
One man, who spent [quite] a long [time] at the voting cabin, came out and threw five ballots ticked for independence to the glass box. He was nervous seeing journalists at the poll station and demanded the Kyiv Post photo journalist to delete his photos from camera, saying he was on [a] wanted list.
Members of [the] poll station turned a blind eye [to] this fact. Instead they were agitating to vote for independence from Ukraine.
The pro-Russian forces in charge of the Donetsk Oblast referendum said 90% of the votes were for independence from Ukraine to form the Donetsk People’s Republic. However, the Luhansk governor said the referendum did not pass in her oblast. “Not many people agreed to come at gunpoint,” she said.
To make the situation more confusing, some of the three million Ukrainians who work in Russia also voted in the referendum. According to Reuters, several thousand brought their passports as proof they live in eastern Ukraine and voted on the referendum to join Russia:
“We wish that there were no fascism, and that all people lived in peace and without any Kiev junta,” said Oleg, another Ukrainian resident of the capital. “We came here to express our own will, because we are not currently in our homeland but in Moscow.”
“Together we’re the power; we’re invincible!” some chanted.
However, there was only one question on the Donetsk ballot, and it asked if the people wanted to form a self-reliant Donetsk People’s Republic. There was no mention of unity with Russia.
The Kyiv Post reports that some in Luhansk took issue both with the referendum and the Kyiv government’s inaction to stop the increasingly chaotic uprisings in the east:
“I’m frustrated all the day long over this quasi-referendum,” said Olesia, who refused to give her last name, fearing retribution from the armed separatists whose camp was just in hundreds of meters away this cafe. “I would really love to live in Ukrainian Luhansk,” she added with sigh.