Ayotte witnesses Ukraine election process
WMUR New Hampshire
KIEV, Ukraine —New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte witnessed firsthand what she’s calling a high voter turnout during Sunday’s presidential election in Ukraine.
“At the opening of the polls in Kiev there was a gentleman who cast the first ballot and he announced that this is for democracy,” Ayotte said.
Ayotte was among thousands of international observers who’s presence was used to send a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and pro-Russian rebels who have seized Ukraine’s government buildings and fought troops. While voters came out strong in Kiev, it was a much more volatile situation in eastern Ukraine as separatists destroyed ballot boxes and shut down polling centers with threats.
President Barack Obama praised Ukraine’s citizens who voted despite the aggression, calling their participation “courageous”.
“The people of Ukraine are voting under circumstances that I don’t think many of us can imagine,” said Ayotte.
Exit polls show billionaire candy-maker Petro Poroshenko winning the election with nearly 56 percent of the vote. Full results are expected to be announced Monday. Ayotte will be back in New Hampshire on Monday and said she plans to speak about her experience.