Ukrainian-American CUs Eye Role InCrucial Presidential Vote

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CHICAGO - (12/24/04) -- The network of Ukrainian creditunions in the U.S. is working to mobilize tens of thousands ofUkrainians living in the U.S. for Sunday's re-vote of the contestedpresidential elections in their home country. Eligible Ukrainiansliving in the U.S. will be allowed to cast their ballots at one offour Ukrainian consulates in Washington, New York, Chicago and SanFrancisco and their credit unions are working to transport them tothe polls. "Our focus is to let the people of the Ukraine maketheir own decision," Bohdan Watral, president of Self RelianceUkrainian American FCU, told The Credit Union Journal Thursday. TheChicago-based credit union helped bus thousands of voters to casttheir ballots in Chicago, where almost 5,000 Ukrainians voted inlast month's elections, eventually overturned because of fraud. Thecredit union network also helped fuel the protests over the taintedelections by helping to organize rallies in the U.S. in theaftermath. The Ukrainian-American credit unions have transmitted asmuch as $1 million to the Ukraine over the past month to helpsustain the protesters in Kiev's Independence Square, wherehundreds of thousands of citizens are already collecting forSunday's vote. Watral has invited concerned Ukrainians to watch thenews from Kiev on a big-screen TV in his credit union lobby onelection day.

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