PARMA, Ohio – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose met on Friday, April 12, with the board of the United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio (known by its Ukrainian acronym as UZO) soon after returing from Ukraine, where he oversaw his first election since being elected Ohio’s secretary of state.
Secretary LaRose was part of an American delegation observing Ukraine’s presidential primary on April 1; his assignment was in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Mr. LaRose met campaign and elected officials, observed various polling locations, where thousands of ballots were hand counted well into the early morning, and visited a prison to observe voting.
Mr. LaRose said he was particularly moved by the singing of Ukraine’s national anthem just prior to the opening of a polling location and the seriousness of the process. His presentation chronicled in photos and videos observations of the electoral process and concluded that the voters were able to exercise their right to vote in a calm and peaceful environment, despite Russia’s social media interference.
Also in attendance was Sen. Rob Portman’s district director, Caryn Candisky. Sen. Portman, co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, has visited Ukraine and the troops near the combat zone, and continues to advocate for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
This was Secretary LaRose’s second visit to Parma’s Ukrainian Village. Earlier, he met with the UZO board on March 22 at Cleveland Selfreliance Federal Credit prior to his departure for Ukraine.
Marta Liscynesky-Kelleher is president of the United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio.