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Voters turn out in high numbers, but security concerns in Donbass

Voters turn out in high numbers, but security concerns in Donbass

NHC is currently in Ukraine observing the election together with our network European Platform for Democratic Elections. In most of the country it is reported that voters turn out in unpresedented high numbers and that lines are forming in many polling stations. In a large majority of the country, the polling takes place in a calm atmosphere and elections seem to go well by 14:00. In two regions, Donetsk and Lugansk, the polling has been cancelled for security reasons or the fact that some areas are under de facto control of armed pro-Russian rebels

Within the mission of the European Platform for democratic elections (EPDE) Russian observers have come to monitor the presidential elections in Ukraine.

There are more than 200 international observers in nine regions of Ukraine. Our observers were present at the opening of 75 polling stations. Mobile teams of two observers who on election day should visit about 1,500 PECs carry out examination.

There are 21 candidates running for the post in the presidential elections in Ukraine. 33,200 precinct election commissions are formed. 33,700,000 voters can participate in elections. 

The general attitude of members of election commissions towards EPDE Mission observers is friendly; only one case of difficulties in the admission to the site of an international observer has been recorded. Turnout at polling stations is noticed as high, so for half an hour after the opening PEC # 180450 in Korostyshiv (Zhytomyr region) more than a hundred people have voted. 

The most frequent violation our observers have noted is the fact that data on the number of ballots received were not included in the report of the commission before the vote. In three cases, observers had difficulties in obtaining information from the Commission. In six instances campaign agitation materials were seen at a distance closer than 50 meters from the building where voting takes place. 

In addition, one instance of not presenting empty ballot boxes immediately before voting by the PEC chairperson was recorded. In 4 cases the procedure of filling checklists into the ballot box after sealing was broken.

There have also been messages received denying observers to film, but after a joint study of the relevant law with a PEC representative, the problem was solved.

Starting from 8 May EPDE carried out presidential election observation in Ukraine, which is held on May 25, 2014. EPDE conducts long-term expert monitoring and short-term monitoring on the Election Day involving observers from Russia. They are experienced observers, having participated in more than one national mission in partnership with GOLOS, SONAR, Citizen Observer, Rosvybor, St. Petersburg Observers and other civic associations. The mission also relies on the Ukrainian members of EPDE Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Society Network OPORA. 

The aim of the European Platform for Democratic Elections is to promote civic election monitoring in Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation, and the development of democratic electoral processes. EPDE aims at increasing the professionalism of election observation across Europe and improving the visibility of the results of election observation both on national and international level. 

International election observation of presidential elections in Ukraine in 2014 is carried out in order to provide objective assessment of the electoral procedures on behalf of the population of the country. This mission is a public initiative of civil society activists. The mission is non-political and non-governmental.

Follow the developments throughout the day on Twitter @EPDE_org and @nhc_no, and see more photos on the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Facebook page.