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ReportObserversRussian Federation10 September 2023, 11:16
Collage: Ksenia Telmanova

Key Voting Trends

DEG Technical Malfunctions

Just like the day before, on September 8, the second day of voting was marked by numerous technical issues plaguing the electronic voting terminals (EVT) and the entire remote electronic voting system (DEG).

A total shutdown of the DEG system occurred in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO), where voters were given ballot papers for only one election instead of two. Voters of the NAO were to vote simultaneously in the elections of deputies to the Assembly of Deputies of the NAO and in the elections of deputies of the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly. Due to a technical glitch, this combination of voting led to the system refusing to issue one of the sets of ballots to the voters: some voters received only ballots for the former, while others — only for the latter. As a result, voting was suspended for two hours, after which a new election ID appeared in the system. It is not yet known how many voters were ultimately unable to vote in one of the elections.

There were more complaints coming in about electronic voter lists and electronic voting terminals freezing in Moscow. Thus, the TEC of the Biryulyovo Western district of Moscow received a complaint from an observer regarding the temporary inoperability of terminals at PECs No. 1698, 1702, 1703 and 1704. It was suggested that voters should vote the next day at PEC No. 2235 in the Konkovo district of the capital.

Despite this, the “Map of Violations” keeps receiving numerous reports from voters being coaxed to vote electronically instead of the conventional use of the paper ballot.

Contrary to the declarations by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation about the advantages of remote electronic voting (DEG) in terms of its convenience for the voter to cast their vote at any time, in almost all regions the activity of participants decreased precisely at the end of the working day and the closure of polling stations. Starting from the evening of the first day of voting and throughout the second day, the increase in turnout became more uniform and less significant.

For example, in the Altai Territory, Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow regions — regions employing the three-day voting — in the period from 20:00 on September 8 to 0:00 on September 10, it was 11.6%, 17.2% and 11.2, respectively, of all registered DEG users. When considering the time period from 8:00 to 20:00 on the first day of voting on September 8, the turnout for the same regions was 69.7%, 56.2% and 69.4%. Obviously, all this can only be explained by the cessation of administrative coercion of voters to use DEG with the onset of the weekend.

DEG Hourly chart, Altai Territory

DEG Hourly chart, Moscow region

Signs of election fraud

Throughout Saturday, there were numerous signals of multiple voting by the same people in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Moscow Region.

In Krasnoyarsk, candidates and observers report “carousel voting” in different parts of the city.

Stacks of ballots were found in stationary ballot boxes at polling stations in the Moscow region, in the cities of Pushkino, Mytishchi and Dolgoprudny. At PEC No. 350 in Dolgoprudny and PEC No. 1694 in Mytishchi, stuffing was recorded by voting members of the commissions on the morning of September 9. At PEC No. 2425 in Pushkino, a complaint about an alleged stuffing was received from an observer. At polling station No. 1709, a young man with Moscow residential registration voted in the election for governor of the Moscow region.

An attempt at major falsification of voting results was disrupted at PEC No. 1246 in the Sokolinaya Gora district of Moscow. An observer from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation found two people, including a member of the commission, stamping and signing ballots marked in favor of one candidate — Sergei Sobyanin. They had a safe package next to them. Then they put away these ballots under the table and tore them up, saying that these ballots were extras. The Moscow City Election Commission responded to the discovered attempt to replace ballots in the safe packages and decided to cancel all paper ballots at the polling station.

In Khabarovsk, after the polling station No. 29 was closed for cleaning, the observers discovered a 100-vote discrepancy between their records and the data from the ballots processing units’ (KOIB) counters.

LDPR candidate Ekaterina Kartashova stopped the carousel voting at polling station No. 1127 in Volzhsky, Volgograd region. As the candidate stated, this was already the fifth case at this polling station, and not far from the building there was someone counseling the “confused voters.” In the process, it turned out that one young woman confused Pushkin Street with Karbyshev Street. In her opinion, there was election fraud by means of “carousel voting”.

The Communists in the Lipetsk region recorded the stuffing using CCTV cameras. After this, official video feed from Lipetsk polling stations became unavailable to the party.

The most common attack on the safety and security of ballot papers was the widespread action of members of precinct election commissions to remove the protective red tape when sealing safe packages. Such reports came from Arkhangelsk, Belgorod, Vladimir, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Novgorod, Oryol, Pskov, Samara, Smolensk and Ulyanovsk regions. In the village of Anopino of the latter region, at PEC No. 519, an attempt at such a violation was stopped by a candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation; as a result, the ballots there were packed in another safe package.  

There was a case of marked ballots being stored without safe packages at PEC No. 1661 in the city of Mytishchi, Moscow Region. A stationary box with ballots that was not properly sealed and “spent the night” from September 8 to September 9. Negligence towards the security of election documents is evidenced by reports from PEC No. 2301 in the Obruchevsky district of Moscow, where ballots were left on the evening of September 8 on top af a spare ballot box, and from PEC No. 3939 in Ulyanovsk, where the chairman of the commission refused to lock the safe with the ballots.

In the city of Pereslavl-Zalessky, Yaroslavl Region, observers from A Fair Russia, who came to polling station No. 1015 by the time of its opening, recorded damage to the seals on metal boxes, which are used by the commission to store documentation and safe packages.

The chairman of the precinct commission of the Ulyanovsk region No. 3939 refused to lock the safe with the ballots for the night.

In Novgorod, the Yabloko party demanded that Friday's ballots be invalidated at 14 polling stations where there were people present during the night in the absence of the observers.

Violations during home-based voting 

On the second day, there was an increase in the number of reports from public observers about violations during home-based voting. The most widespread evidence was of the organization of illegal voting for voters who were not included in a special register and did not apply to the commission for the home-based voting.

Three such reports came from the Kemerovo region, from polling stations No. 815, 911 and 642. In the Ryazan region, failure to comply with the legal requirements for drawing up the register of request for home-based resulted in the commission members visiting a deceased voter. Many citizens were absent at the time or stated that they had not applied for home-based voting. As a result, only 10 voters voted, out of 32 scheduled.

A similar situation occurred at PEC No. 1734 in Novosibirsk. Observers found the register to feature a voter who had died more than a year ago. When conducting home visits, the commission members also discovered that many voters had moved. In addition, at the same polling station, the commission issued a ballot to a person who voted outside the polling station, while not on the voter list.

Furthermore, the precinct commission No. 930 in the city of Gelendzhik, Krasnodar Territory, conducted home-based voting without a register or an extract therefrom. Members of PEC No. 1251 in the village of Ukrainka, Cherepanovsky district, Novosibirsk region, conducted home-based voting simply using the voters list. As a result, 19 people voted at home without submitting a request to the commission.

An attempt to organize mass mobile voting among employees of a budgetary institution in the village of Turma, Irkutsk Region, ended with the invalidation of all 46 ballots that ended up in the mobile box used. The decision was made by the election commission following the consideration of a complaint from a LDPR candidate for Legislative Assembly deputy.

Another sign of possible fraud may be the actions of precinct commission No. 920 in the city of Gelendzhik, which, based on the results of home-based voting, drew up a report that is used on the main voting day without the use of safe packages. For this reason, the act does not contain the number of the safe package, and in addition, the time of voting was not indicated and obviously incorrect data was entered. Thus, the number of ballots received by the mobile voting group was 12, and the number of ballots issued to voters was also 12. At the same time, the number of unused ballots was 3, and the number of spoiled ballots was 0.

Violence against voters, election commission members, observers, media representatives and candidates

Saturday and Sunday morning were marked by a wave of reports from different regions about violence faced by voters, election officials, observers, media representatives and candidates.

It is especially alarming that this violence is often organized by the state and actually turns into state terror against all those who prevent the authorities from getting the results they want, regardless of the level of the elections.

In Veliky Novgorod, an arrest report was drawn up against Yabloko candidates. They began drawing up reports on three Yabloko candidates for the Veliky Novgorod City Duma, who had previously been taken to the police to give explanations, under Art. 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation “Failure to comply with the Police.” Anna and Ksenia Cherepanov and Viktor Shalyakin are held at the police precinct. They can end up arrested under this article. The alleged “failure to comply” was that the deputy candidates showed the police their documents while in the, rather than stepping out of it. All the while, the reason for checking the documents of the politicians whom the police blocked in their car for an hour is yet to be known. Earlier, representatives of Yabloko demanded to cancel the voting results at several polling stations in Veliky Novgorod due to violations of the rules for storing ballots during the night. In mid-August, Ksenia Cherepanova’s premises were already searched as part of a criminal case which featured her as a witness; some laptops and smartphones were confiscated.

In Gelendzhik, the police detained an observer from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation who was monitoring the elections at polling station No. 938 in the village of Arkhipo-Osipovka. She was taken to the police precinct. A protocol was drawn up against her under the article of interference in the work of the election commission. The police removed her not by court order, but by the threat of force and arrest for disobedience.

Another case of pressure on public scrutiny was the action by the conscription official of the city of Gelendzhik, who handed a summon for checking personal details and receiving a mobilization order to the observer and a voting member of PEC No. 940. Moreover, according to the “7x7” outlet, the precinct election commission called the police requesting the observer to be removed. An administrative violation report was drawn up against him. The underlying article of the Administrative code is unknown, but the reason was that, according to members of the PEC, the observer constantly tried to learn to the personal data of voters and was unresponsive to spoken reprimands.

There were cases of media representatives and candidates being removed from the voting premises. This happened at polling stations No. 3362, 3363 and 3368 (journalist from Sota Vision) in Moscow, and also at polling station No. 2425 in Pushkino, Moscow region (journalist from “Rosderzhava”). A day earlier, a representative of another media outlet, the Anti-Corruption Information Agency, was detained by police there.

The police came to the office of “The New People” looking for the candidate for deputy of the Yekaterinburg City Duma to give him a warning about the inadmissibility of violating the law. 

In Moscow, a voter who refused to vote electronically was detained for “misdemeanor.”

In Ulyanovsk, an observer was detained after a complaint about violations at PEC No. 3939 in Ulyanovsk. Denis Guryanov reported that the police “arrested and illegally forcibly detained” him at the police precinct in Ulyanovsk. He connects this with the violations he identified at PEC No. 3939. He also claims that the commission planned to stuff ballots today between 3 and 5 pm. On September 8, the election commission did not accept his complaint about violations at the polling station.

Police officers seized and took to the police department the video equipment of an observer at PEC No. 216 in the village of Vlasikha, Moscow Region. In the city of Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region, PEC No. 347 decided to go to court with a request to remove a voting member of the commission from A Fair Russia, who demanded to see voters’ passports, took photographs of them without permission, and also moved “chaotically” around the voting premises.

In Omsk, on suspicion of committing illegal campaigning, the second secretary of the regional committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was detained and taken to the police, where they treated him violently, which resulted in hand injury.

There are also cases of violence not involving the law enforcement. 

In Irkutsk, there was an attack on observers who were trying to prevent vote bribing. Some athletes drove up to them and threatened them with a screwdriver. In Krasnoyarsk, LDPR cars had their tires punctured. 

Other violations of the rights of members of election commissions, observers, media representatives and candidates

One of the most serious incidents was the obstruction of the work of a member of the election commission and an observer at PEC No. 1709 in the city of Mytishchi, Moscow Region, which was featured the day earlier in the reports about the transportation, coercion and control of voting. On the morning of September 9, the doors at the residences of the voting member of the commission Elena Gritsevich and observer Anastasia Zolochevskaya were blocked. They had to call the emergency responders.

A member of the Tsentralnaya TEC, Roman Pilipenko, faced an attack on his personal safety and property in Novorossiysk. While preparing a statement about violation of election laws, he was attacked by an unknown person who splashed some liquid into his car, damaging his laptop and other equipment.

A widespread violation of the rights of observers was the restriction of their rights to familiarize themselves with voter lists and other documents of precinct commissions. At PEC No. 1694 in Mytishchi, for example, even a member of this commission was deprived of the right to vote. 47news outlet reports a special case — voting according to secret military lists at PEC No. 135, located in the village of Agalatovo. Observers and members of PECs in Krasnodar (No. 2134), Pushkino (No. 2409) and Mytishchi (No. 1684) in the Moscow region, Moscow (No. 2208), Ryazan (No. 1001), Gelendzhik were barred from examining voter lists and registers of requests for home-based voting. (Nos. 930 and 940).

The chairman of PEC No. 1601 in the village of Stanovoe, Lipetsk Region, kept observers at a distance of no closer than 10 meters from the place where ballots were issued to voters. 

Coercion to vote

There were more reports of the coercion of citizens to participate in conventional voting. Evidence of transportation, coercion, and control over voter turnout was published on the “Map of Violations” website.

Thus, at polling station No. 1646 in Mytishchi, Moscow region, voting by groups of students from several higher educational institutions was reported. In Yekaterinburg, at PEC No. 1770, the observers detected not only control of voter turnout, but also of the expression of will, with a concomitant violation of the secrecy of voting. Similarly, at polling station No. 232 in the village of Miloslavskoye, Ryazan region, an observer from the Public Chamber was photographing voters, taking notes of who on his list showed up for the elections, and shared his findings with the members of the commission. To stop the pressure on voters, the authorized representative of the Ryazan branch of the Yabloko party, Konstantin Smirnov, submitted a complaint to the regional election commission. Another such case was recorded in the Tverskoy district of Moscow during home-based voting, where a certain third party wearing a “Moscow Veterans Home” uniform took a photo of a voter’s marked ballot and sent the photo to the “foreman,” thereby grossly violating the secrecy of voting.

According to the Sota.Vision online outlet, in Arkhangelsk, employees of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NAFU) were pressured to vote for United Russia. To do this, the curators of the university departments had until September 5 to draw up the table featuring their respective staff members and convince them to register for the online elections. All the while, the university staffers were advised to vote on September 8, the first day of voting. According to the instructions obtained by the outlet, in addition to organizational work, curators were also to do ideological work — convince the staffers to vote for United Russia. Thus, the document is accompanied by a list of “10 reasons to vote for United Russia.”

Attempts to organize controlled voting were also observed in the Ivanovo region for employees of the Russian Post, students of sports schools, and students of a motor transport vocational school. A candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug reported a case of voter transportation.

Finally, yet again in Mytishchi, precinct commission No. 1709 unreasonably enabled voting by a voter who was not included in the voter list and was registered for residence at a different address. At the same time, according to a voting member of the commission, an attempt at such voting for three more voters was disrupted.

In addition to various techniques for mobilizing voters, of particular interest are the cases of practices to reduce the turnout of the protest electorate before the last day of voting. Thus, in Krasnoyarsk at night, unknown persons posted notices at the city's polling station about the bailiffs being present on the premises. Similar messages were sent via instant messengers in Yakutia. 

Facts and figures

Voting monitoring is carried out by the “Golos” movement for its compliance with international and Russian standards of free expression of will and is based on data received from regions from voting participants and organizers, observers and media representatives, through various channels, including the 8 800 500-54-62 hotline, “Map of Violations”, media, Internet, social media and instant messengers.

On the second day of voting and early on the third day of voting, as of 09:00 Moscow time on September 10, the “Golos” movement received 38 calls to the hotline, 177 reports to the “Map of Violations” and through other electronic communication channels.

In total, during the election campaign, 65 calls were received to the hotline, 819 reports were submitted to the “Map of Violations” and through other electronic communication channels.

The top five regions in terms of the number of reports of possible violations via the “Map of Violations” as of September 9 and morning of September 10:

  1. Moscow — 48
  2. Moscow region — 39
  3. Krasnoyarsk territory — 25
  4. Ryazan region — 6
  5. Ivanovo region — 6

The distribution of top scorers by the reports to the “Map of Violations” as a whole for the campaign period currently looks like this: 

  1. Moscow — 128
  2. Moscow region — 116
  3. Khakassia — 59
  4. Ivanovo region — 54
  5. Novgorod region — 48

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