The Donetsk Referendum is now history and visible turn out seemed higher than the vote in Crimea with supporters claiming nearly 69% of local voters participating. That number was immediately spun higher as the professional spin masters took over. Even independent Russian polls indicate that most Ukrainians, somewhere in the 75-80% range, want the borders to remain unchanged.
The voting process was lenient and that prompted charges from the other side about multiple voting, caravan voting, etc. When you allow anyone to vote without documents and there is no way to check as to whether a person has voted at another polling station, the holders of referendums left themselves open to such charges but frankly a clean election was not a concern here.
Multiple eyewitness reports say that boxes of pre-checked ballots were imported; frankly that that is a fairly common practice in this part of the world and one reason why few elections are truly honest. Whether it was clean or even legal really doesn’t matter as the feat is accomplished and any attempt to reverse the decision will have to gain permission of a larger neighbor.
One might do well to also remember that while Russians living in this region are well-represented, they’re not a majority so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suspect that the election was rigged. May locals came but many also stayed away for safety reasons.
Ukrainian Presidential elections are scheduled for 25 May but it is doubtful that Ukrainian citizens in this region will be allowed to participate.