May 24 - As poll workers scramble to prep for Sunday's presidential election, fear is keeping some voters from heading to the polls. Nathan Frandino reports.
With its closed cafes and empty gas stations, parts of Luhansk seem desolate and deserted. Like in other eastern Ukrainian cities, its streets are filled with barricades. And armed men who've declared the region an election-free zone. Residents say that declaration will keep people from voting in Sunday's presidential election. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LUHANSK RESIDENT, OLEKSANDER CHEREDNICHENKO, SAYING: "They've scared all the people. People are afraid to go out at night here, and because of the latest events, a lot of people are afraid that if they go to a polling station that gunmen will come there and will chase them out, in the best case scenario, and, in the worst case scenario, shoot them." This man and his family visited what would normally be a polling location. Although voting booths had been set up, there were no ballot boxes in place and no sign of electoral staff. The situation was only slightly better in Mariupol. While workers have prepped booths, ballot boxes and candidate information, fear and uncertainty still loom. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HEAD OF MARIUPOL DISTRICT ELECTION COMMISSION 59, VIKTOR KOVBA, SAYING: "I've had one of the chiefs of the commission beaten up. The commission will not exist anymore. Some people come and say 'nothing will take place here. We will block this off on behalf of our authorities.' To me, It's unclear which authorities." Although the city has around 500,000 people, voter turnout remains to be seen. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MARIUPOL RESIDENT, YULIA, SAYING: "Why I won't go to vote? Because I want order in the country." (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MARIUPOL RESIDENT, MARIA, SAYING: "I think it's dangerous to go to the vote. We are going to stay home all day tomorrow." Not a sunny outlook for what Kiev hopes to be a clean election after months of unrest.