BRAMA, Jan 1, 2005, 6:00 pm ET
Ukrainian presidential elections in Chicago:
KO in Round 3
By Pavlo T. Bandriwsky
Chicago (27 Dec 2004) Knockout in the third round: Viktor Yuschenko wins by a landslide at the Ukrainian Consulate in Chicago voting. Of the 4,442 votes cast (the largest turnout in North America), 4,417 votes (99.44%) went to Yuschenko while Viktor Yanukovych garnered only 14 votes.
December 26 was a cold crisp day in Chicago but the excitement of Viktor Yuschenko's impending win warmed the Ukrainian community. This was conveyed to the Chicagoland television viewing public as six television stations sent crews to cover the events at the Consulate and the Ukrainian Cultural Center, where a zabava gave enthusiasts an opportunity to celebrate their contribution to Ukraine's democratic advancement.
At least ten members of the Board of Directors of the Illinois branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America worked in various capacities to ensure that the elections would be held fairly and the process carried out more effectively than the previous two tours, even though a record number of voters participated.
Two members served on the Local Election Committee, charged with ensuring that every part of the "Law to Elect the President of Ukraine" was followed in complete detail. Several more served as press representatives observing the election process and assisting as necessary. Others worked with logistics: helping to load the transportation busses at the Ukrainian Cultural Center and then coordinating their arrival at the Consulate. One served as an official international observer, present while the final tally was counted and certifying that the election was conducted fairly, in accordance with the law.
To move so many people through the election process efficiently required the assistance from scores of volunteers, many who are from the newest wave of immigrants. All volunteers enthusiastically carried out their responsibilities with a sense of pride and enthusiasm, grateful they could contribute to the democratic process of electing the Ukrainian President.