Key Aspects of Referendums in DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye
© Sputnik / A volunteer distributes information materials in preparation for the referendum on joining Russia on the street of Melitopol, Zaporozhye region, partially controlled by Russian troops, Ukraine
© Sputnik //
Voting on referendums on joining the Russia began on Friday in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as in the Kherson region and in the liberated territories of the Zaporozhye region. Polling in all four regions will last until 27 September.
On 20 September, the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, and the regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson announced that they would be holding referendums on accession to Russia from 23 to 27 September.
The same day the vote dates were set, the parliaments unanimously adopted referendum laws, and the central election commissions approved the voting procedure.
On Wednesday morning, in a televised address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will do everything to ensure security at the forthcoming referendums in Donbass and other regions, which have appealed to Moscow for support.
Voting at Polling Stations
One of the most discussed issues on the eve of the referendums was how the vote should take place. Taking into account the short deadlines and the lack of technical equipment, it was decided to abandon electronic voting and go for the traditional form with paper ballots.
For the purposes of security, voting at polling stations will be held for only one day - 27 September.
On the remaining days, election commission officials will go door-to-door to collect residents votes.
Observers to Monitor Referendum to Join Russia
All four regions expressed their interest in holding referendums as transparently and legitimately as possible and being open to the scrutiny of international observers.
Chairman of the LPR Central Election Commission (CEC) Elena Kravchenko said on Wednesday that her commission is accepting applications from foreign observers. "They are being considered," she said as the DPR's CEC reported that they also expect foreign observers, but their list will be made public after voting starts.
The chairman of the election commission of the Kherson region, Marina Zakharova, said that invitations had been sent to "a large pool of countries".
According to the Russian CEC, four members of the commission - as well as more than 100 representatives of other election commissions - will take part in observing the referendums. The Russian State Duma reported that deputies of all factions will also receive invitations to participate in observing the vote.
Security During Referendum
Because of the threat of intensified Ukrainian shelling and sabotage during the referendums, the authorities of the DPR and LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions are preparing to adopt increased security measures.
In Zaporozhye, the chairman of the 'We are together with Russia' movement, Vladimir Rogov, pointed out that "a counter-terrorist operation regime has been introduced in the form of exercises" with the help of heavy equipment. Strengthening the air defense is also planned.
The police and Rosgvardiya will be responsible for protecting sites in the Kherson region.