Today millions of Ukrainians will cast their votes in the second and decisive round of presidential elections. There are just two candidates to choose from: incumbent president Petro Poroshenko, and showman turned politician Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The winner takes all. In the first round, Zelenskiy received 30.24% of the votes, Poroshenko - 15.95%. The official results of the second round will be made public before May 4. By June 3, the newly elected president will take office. Hromadske will provide you with live updates on the voting process.
All updates are given in Kyiv time zone (Eastern European Summer Time).
8:00 p.m. According to early exit polls results, as of 6 p.m., Zelenskiy has received 73.2% of the votes–ahead of 25.3% for Poroshenko. 1.5% of respondents claimed to have ruined their ballot papers on purpose. 13,686 people responded to the polling carried out by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with other sociological groups with the margin of error standing at no more than 2.5%.
5:45 p.m. Civil network Opora has noticed an attempt of ballot-box stuffing in the village of Teple in the Luhansk region of Ukraine. When approached by Opora members, the committee asked to "look the other way and not call the police." Later one of the committee members admitted it was his initiative as he wanted to support a particular candidate. The police is now working on the scene.
5:30 p.m. As of 3 p.m., 45.26% of Ukrainians had voted, according to the Central Election Committee of Ukraine. Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizzhia, and Poltava regions boast the highest turnouts in the country. Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Chernivtsi regions -- the lowest.
5:16 p.m. The number of those voting outside of Ukraine has also risen. 449,175 registered to vote abroad, which is 14,245 more than on March 31. As of 5 p.m. Kyiv time, polling stations already closed in Australia, South Korea, Japan, China, Mongolia, Malaysia, Singapore, Shanghai, Vietnam, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
5:12 p.m. 69,582 residents of occupied Donbas changed their voting address to government-controlled Ukraine to be able to cast their votes, says press secretary of the Central Election Committee Natalya Bernatska. In annexed Crimea, 6,025 people did that, which is 500 more than in the first round of the presidential election.
5:09 p.m. In the operation zone of the Joint Forces in the Donbas there is a high turnout among the military in the second round of the presidential election. There is normal voting process on the front line and in adjacent areas.
"Neither permanent combat readiness nor service in the immediate vicinity of the separation line became an obstacle to voting during the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine ... Each soldier, sergeant and officer got the right to exercise their right... All the polling stations recorded a high turnout of voters," - the General Staff reported.
4:54 p.m. At one polling station in Dnipropetrovsk region, a woman tried to eat her ballot. She was in a state of intoxication. This was reported by the spokesman of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Artem Shevchenko.
4:51 p.m. The polling station in Lebedynske, Donetsk region, which failed to open in the morning, is now open for voting. This was announced by the head of the Central Election Commission Tetiana Slipachuk.
4:49 p.m. The voting process at the Antarctic station "Academician Vernadsky" is over with a turnout of 100%.
4:27 p.m. As of 4 p.m., 816 reports and messages related to the electoral process were received by the National Police. Most of them involve illegal campaigning, bribing voters and photographing ballots. The leading regions in the number of reports of violations are Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv and Donetsk region. The lowest number of violations was in Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk regions. In 10 cases, criminal proceedings have been initiated: eight - because of misuse of the ballot, two - because of a knowingly false report on the threat to citizens' security in the Donetsk and Kherson regions. This was announced by the adviser to the Interior Minister Zoryan Shkiryak.
What we know eight hours into the voting process:
- 45.38% of voters in Ukraine have already voted in the election (CEC data from 141 districts as of 3 p.m.)
- Zelenskiy received an administrative offence report for displaying a ballot at a polling station. The spokesman of his campaign HQ, Dmytro Razumkov, commented on this, noting that "everyone breaks the law" - "the question is only in the approach to violation of the law".
- Police have already received 690 reports of violations - in five cases proceedings were initiated.
- According to the civil movement for fair elections CHESNO, "Zelenskiy Team" Facebook community has 430 active promotional posts on the election day. It is the only official page of a politician that is promoting on election day, when campaigning is prohibited.
- The Interior Ministry said that the polling station in Lebedynske, Donetsk region will open. It was the only station that failed to open in the morning.
3:40 p.m. According to the civil movement for fair elections CHESNO, "Zelenskiy Team" Facebook community has 430 active promotional posts on the election day. It is the only official page of a politician that is promoting on election day, when campaigning is prohibited.
3:38 p.m. Leonid Kuchma, the second president of Ukraine, voted in the elections with his wife. Above all, Kuchma wished the winner of the race "to be honest about the promises made to the people".
"Fewer promises and more actions is what we need. Because we are reaping the rewards today - compare what they promised during the election campaign five years ago to what we have now. Therefore, the main thing is to be honest and decent with your people," said Kuchma.
3:35 p.m. 44.82% of voters have already voted as of 3 p.m. according to data from 60 districts (out of 199), Central Election Commission reports.
There are 199 electoral districts in Ukraine and one foreign constituency. As of 11 a.m., according to data from all 199 districts, 18.15% of voters made their choice, which is 1.55% more than during the first three hours of voting in the first round of presidential elections.
3:17 p.m. In Kaharlyk, Kyiv region a man took his ballot from the polling station and rode off on a bicycle. Searching for the offender, police came to his home where his wife handed over two ballots - from the first and second round of presidential elections.
3:14 p.m. The only still closed polling station near the separation line in Lebedynske, Donetsk region will open soon. Voters will be able to cast their votes. Investigation will continue, the Interior Ministry informed.
2:29 p.m. According to civil network OPORA, the turnout at 12 p.m. was 25.3% with a margin of error at 0.7%.
2:22 p.m. Police has come to the presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy because of the ballot he showed at the polling station.
The candidate will be fined, but the amount is not yet known.
Deliberate violation of voter secrecy is punishable by a fine of 510 to 850 hryvnas.
1:52 p.m. In the four hours since the polling stations opened, the police registered 281 reports of violations in the elections, reported Zoryan Shkiryak, the advisor to the Interior Minister.
Most reports relate to illegal campaigning (52), and there was at least one attempt to carry a ballot out of the station.
The advisor to the minister added that the police will draw up reports on those officials and deputies who violate the law and photograph their ballots.
1:35 p.m. The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, has cast his vote in the second round of presidential elections.
What we know five hours into the voting process:
- Both candidates have already voted in the elections. Current president Petro Poroshenko said he was proud of the organization of the elections and added that citizens should choose wisely because "it's not a joke." Showman Volodymyr Zelenskiy told us about his "wonderful morning" with coffee, children and some Eminem to get him in the mood. He also showed his ballot to the press.
- Femen activist was waiting for Zelenskiy outside the polling station demanding to "Stop assaulting the country" and calling him "Pig in a poke" (Poroshenko called that Zelenskiy at the debate).
- 18.05% of voters have already voted in the presidential elections (data from 95 polling stations, as of 11 a.m.)
- The turnout in the second round has already exceeded that of the first round by 1.4% (as of 11 a.m.)
12:51 p.m. Ukrainians are also voting at the embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Photo credit: EPA-EFE/IGOR KOVALENKO
12:16 p.m. The current president and candidate Petro Poroshenko has voted in the presidential election.
Poroshenko came to the polling station in Kyiv's House of Officers with his wife, Maryna Poroshenko.
He noted that he took pride in the organization of this year's election.
But he added that it is important for citizens to vote wisely because "it's not a joke."
"It does not matter who will be elected, most important are the strategy and the direction in which the nation and the state will continue to move," Poroshenko said.
12:10 p.m. Earlier, a 101-year-old resident of Vinnytsia district Valentyna Karakoy cast her vote. She was born in 1918.
She came to the polling station with her granddaughter who voted for the first time.
12:06 p.m. In the three hours of the second round of the presidential election 17.43% of eligible voters have voted in Ukraine.
This data was reported by the Central Election Commission from 116 out of a total of 199 districts, as of 11 a.m.
11:28 a.m. "Stop assaulting the country," an activist of Femen said when she came to the polling station where Zelenskiy voted.
"He's a pig in a poke," the topless girl kept saying.
One of the female voters told the activist that it was her, and not Zelenskiy, who "is [Ukraine's] shame".
11:18 a.m. A dog came along with the press secretary of the OPORA Civic Network Yuriy Khorunzhy to a polling station in Kyiv.
Photo credit: EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO
11:11 a.m. Presidential candidate and showman Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived and cast his vote at a polling station in Kyiv.
He spoke to the reporters about his "wonderful morning," which comprised "children, coffee, and some Eminem from his wife to get in the mood."
11:03 a.m. Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine Ulana Suprun has already voted.
10:44 a.m. A line of journalists has formed at the polling station #800489 in Kyiv, where comic and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to cast his vote. It inconveniences other voters according to our correspondent.
10:13 a.m. Hromadske correspondent in the Kherson region notes that 111 voters from Crimea were registered in the Kalanchak district.
Head of the Kalanchak commission said: "One of the first voters were people from the annexed Crimea, who drove here."
Around 40 Crimeans have already voted at the polling station.
9:58 a.m. Over 130 thousand people are responsible for security on the election day. Mostly it is policemen - over 72 thousand, but also over 7 thousand National Guards, 39 thousand rescuers, 8 thousand border guards, and others.
9:22 a.m. Ukraine Ambassador to the Czech Republic Yevhen Perebyinis shared a photo of the line to the polling station in Prague 30 minutes before opening time.
8:00 a.m. The polling stations open in Ukraine and the voting process begins. The very first station to open was in Australia - it opened its doors 9 hours ago.