Votes on joining Russia as constituent entities will begin on Friday in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR), as well as in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
- The referendums will be held from September 23-27. In-person voting will take place exclusively on September 27, while on the other days, voting will be organized in communities and in a door-to-door manner for security reasons.
– As many as 450 polling stations will be set up across the DPR and another 200 will be established for people evacuated to Russia.
– LPR residents will be able to cast their ballots at 461 polling stations throughout the republic, as well as in all Russian regions, where a total of 201 polling stations have been created.
– The Zaporozhye Region’s authorities announced the establishment of 394 polling stations across the region and another 58 in Russia, the LPR, the DPR and the Kherson Region.
– The Kherson Region’s residents will have the opportunity to vote in Crimea and a number of Russian cities, including Moscow, apart from their home region, where eight territorial and 198 district election commissions have been created.
– More than 1.5 mln ballots have been printed in the DPR based on the number of people eligible to vote.
– Over 500,000 people have been included in voter registries in the Zaporozhye Region, the regional Election Commission’s Chairperson Galina Katyushchenko said.
– The Kherson Region’s Central Election Commission expects about 750,000 voters to take part in the vote.
– A phone poll conducted by the Crimean Republican Institute for Political and Social Research on September 13-14, which involved nearly 4,000 respondents, showed that voter turnout will be very high. As many as 86% of those surveyed in the DPR and 87% in the LPR said they planned to participate. In the Zaporozhye Region, 83% of respondents intend to cast their ballots, and in the Kherson Region, the percentage stands at 72%.
– Voting ballots printed in the DPR and LPR are only in the Russian language. Chairman of the DPR People’s Council Vladimir Bidevka explained that Russian had been fixed as the official language of the government by the DPR Constitution in 2020.
– Ballots will use both Russian and Ukrainian in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
– All four regions declared their commitment to maximum transparency and legitimacy, being open to monitoring by international observers.
– LPR Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairperson Yelena Kravchenko said on Wednesday that the CEC was receiving and “considering” applications from foreign observers though she did not name their countries. According to the election official, foreign observers and observers representing the Civic Chamber will be present at polling stations as well as outside them on the days of the vote.
– The DPR CEC said that it expects foreign observers, and promised to provide more information after their accreditation.
– Chairperson of the Kherson Region’s election commission Marina Zakharova said that invitations had been sent “to a large number of countries.”
– The Russian CEC also promised to send its own observers to monitor the referendums. The State Duma (the lower house of parliament) said that members of all parliamentary factions would receive invitations to take part in monitoring the vote.
Preparations for votes
– All district commissions in the LPR have already started their work, received ballots and necessary equipment, the LPR CEC said.
– The DPR CEC has set up a call center to cover the vote and approved the use of security bags, which, according to CEC chief Vladimir Vysotsky, will make it possible to ensure the security of ballots and prevent third parties from accessing the documents.
– The regions are gearing up to step up security measures during the referendums due to the threat that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will step up shelling attacks. According to the military-civilian administrations of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, police officers and Russia’s National Guard members will protect polling stations. Entrances to cities in the Zaporozhye Regions will be brought under control during the referendum, while groups of voting officials going door-to-door will be accompanied by police officers. Head of the Zaporozhye Region’s Military-Civilian Administration Yevgeny Balitsky said that canine units have checked all polling stations.
– The LPR plans to enlist the help of the Defense Ministry’s forces in security activities along with the police. The DPR authorities said that Russian troops would assist law enforcement agencies and the People’s Militia in ensuring security at polling stations.