IU Kokomo administrator to serve as election observer in Ukraine

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police outside Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Ukraine's festering political crisis took a deadly turn Tuesday, as thousands of anti-government protesters clashed with police outside Ukraine's parliament. Three protesters were killed in the melee, the opposition reported, and emergency workers found another person dead after a fire at the ruling party's office in Kiev. Law enforcement agencies gave the demonstrators a deadline of 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) to stop the confrontations and vowed to restore order. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A college administrator from Kokomo will serve as an official observer of the presidential election in Ukraine on May 25.

Kathy Parkison will be in Ukraine on the lookout for election fraud as a representative of the State Department, something she has done half a dozen times before.

It will be a special election to replace a president who resigned last year. Parkison will be there watching as one of 900 formal observers from 37 countries.

“You do not stop them from doing anything inappropriate,” she said, “but you document, document, document.”

Parkison was in Ukraine to observe the parliamentary elections in 2010 and has visited the country a number of other times. She says the people there take elections very seriously. She’s also been watching news reports on how the referendum produced violence. An armband that identifies her as an observer is her only protection.

“We get daily briefings from the State Department,” she said. When asked if she is worried about her safety, she quickly said, “Not really.”

Parkison says she won’t know her final destination until she arrives in Ukraine but wherever she ends up her presence, she believes, will contribute to a more fair election.

“In one country, and I’m not supposed to say where, I did see a lot of election fraud,” she said, “and I know they were pretty surprised to see us show up that day in that polling station. They had the top off the ballot box and they were shoving the ballots in.”

And that election was nullified.

Kathy Parkison volunteers to be an election monitor and her husband, who is also a college professor, goes along. She calls it a commitment to the democratic process.

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