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Collage: Ksenia Telmanova

The number of voting days in 2022 is determined by the election committees in the respective regions, which is why voting on September 9 took place not everywhere, but it covered only in the part of the elections that fall on the Single Voting Day: September 11, 2022.

Main election day trends

Pressure on election observers and candidates

The first day of voting started on the morning of election day with a crackdown on organizers of election observations and candidates by the law enforcement agencies.

In Krasnodar, the police detained Vitaly Nemtsev, the CPRF’s observation coordinator. In the morning, unknown people glued a sticker of the Azov Regiment (this unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is recognized as a terrorist organization in Russia, and it is banned) to his car; the car was stopped by two road police cars, and a field agent drove up immediately. The case was taken to court, which sentenced Nemtsev to five days of arrest under Part 1 of Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation: he was distracted from supervising the election observers.

In Penza Oblast, the police detained Ruslan Bakhteev, assistant to the Duma deputy and first secretary of the Penza City Committee of the CPRF, and Nikolai Lavrikov, candidate deputy for the oblast legislative assembly, on suspicion of car theft. At the police station, they were later accused of taking drugs (a medical lab test showed no traces of drugs in their blood samples).

The apartment of Dmitry Pervukhin, coordinator of the Tatarstan Observers Association and member of the Yabloko party, was also searched in the morning. The search was related to a criminal case on «justifying terrorism». Electronic media were confiscated from Pervukhin.

There was another search of the apartment of Vladislav Khodakovsky, Golos coordinator in Voronezh Oblast, under the criminal case on «disseminating fakes about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation against Ilya Ponomarev, former State Duma Deputy». A phone and a laptop were seized.

Artificial raise of turnout in Distance E-Voting and coerced voting

The first day of voting was marked by non-natural turnout in Distance E-Voting (DEV) in some regions. This was particularly the case in Moscow, where 1,006,499 voters had received online ballots by 20:00 on Friday vs 195,824 voters who had received paper ballots. The total turnout in Moscow was 16.7%. According to Golos, it was mainly contributed by the already traditional administrative coercion of voters, as well as by incentifying the voting turnout through lotteries. We have repeatedly noted that such incentives are contrary to the principles of democratic elections since they do not contribute to the free formation of will, replacing civic motivation to participate in elections with material motivation, incentifying citizens to vote without any dive into the programmes and proposals of the candidates.

The DEV figures were as follows in other regions at the end of September 9:

Kaliningrad Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 18,980
  • Turnout: 11,235 (59%)

Kaluga Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 287
  • Turnout: 0 (0%)

Kursk Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 7,855
  • Turnout: 3,794 (48%)

Novgorod Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 9,304
  • Turnout: 5,030 (54%)

Pskov Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 11,878
  • Turnout: 8,686 (73%)

Tomsk Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 25,794
  • Turnout: 0 (0%)

Yaroslavl Oblast

  • Registered DEV voters: 36,520
  • Turnout: 25,652 (70%)

TOTAL

  • Registered DEV voters: 110,618
  • Turnout: 54,397 (49%)

The Pskov Oblast stands out in this data with a total turnout on the first day of voting of 38,656, of whom 22.5% were DEV voters (total turnout was 8.5%, and the DEV turnout was 73%). Such a concentration of online voters on the first day of voting is an obvious sign of coercion.

We should also note the situation in the Omsk City Council election, where 3.5% of voters took part in the election during the first week of early voting (i. e. August 31 through to September 6): almost half of those who voted early in all the city council elections in the region’s administrative centers. On these days, large queues were observed at the polling stations, and opposition parties claimed about organized busing of voters.

Failure of the Electronic Voter Register

Piloted use of the Electronic Voter Register in Moscow showcased lacking robustness of the system on election days. Massive failures of the Electronic Voter Register (EVR) were registered starting from the afternoon of September 9 and over the course of an hour and a half in various parts of Moscow leading to refusals to issue ballot papers to voters.

Some of these voters could not wait to vote and left polling stations finding themselves actually defeated in their active voting rights.

Administrators of the Electronic Voter Register System claimed the troubles were due to the DDOS attacks; however, there was no independent confirmation of such attacks to be identified by either experts or end-users.

Violation of the rights of election committee members, observers and mass media representatives

During September 9, the Golos Movement’s Violations Map received 55 reports on violated rights of election committee members, observers and mass media representatives from nine regions: Udmurtia, Altai, Krasnodar Krai, Primorsky Krai, Penza, Pskov, Samara and Tambov Oblasts, and Moscow. Moscow was record-breaking with its 36 reports.

Most of the reports were about obstructing citizen observers from viewing the documents, moving around voting premises, taking photographs and recording videos.

Fabrication of fakes and attempts to discredit citizen observers

Fake emails and fakes defaming the Golos Movement have once again started circulating on the Internet. On September 8, the Telegram (TG) channel Oper Pishet (Writings of Field Agent) published a staged video of an alleged Yabloko training with an alleged trainer from Golos teaching election observers how to orchestrate provocations at polling stations, and the trainer promised rewards for doing that. Registered mass media outlets began to distribute this video as a credible one on September 9. For example, the REGNUM News Agency published a story explicitly stating that «a video of the training of the Yabloko election observers at various constituency levels in Russia taught by a trainer from the Golos Movement for the Protection of the Voter Rights» had been posted online.

On the same day, a new post appeared online with the screenshots of a fake letter allegedly sent by Grigory Melkonyants, co-chairperson of the Golos Movement, to candidates: it was a call to stage provocations at the Distance E-Voting. The SOLOVIEV Telegram Channel copy-pasted this post.

Such formats of fakes have been used for many years to discredit Golos, and they have been disseminated through the same news networks.

We repeatedly state that the Golos Movement has nothing to do with such materials and events showed in such videos. We consider these publications — which appeared both on the eve of voting and on the voting days — as a deliberate provocation: this is a defamation aimed at discrediting Golos and independent election observations.

The Golos Movement has never called for and does not call to orchestrate any provocations, and it has always been encouraging election observers to adhere strictly to the law and to cooperate with election committees constructively. Golos reiterates that in its activities it is guided by universal international electoral standards and strictly observes political neutrality as one of the basic conditions for independent and objective election observation. We are guided by the constitutional principles: the bearer of sovereignty and the sole source of power in Russia is its multinational people. Referendums and free elections are the highest direct expression of the power of the people.

In accordance with Articles 43, 44 of the Law of Russian Federation «On Mass Media» (dated 27.12.1991, #2124-1), the Golos Movement has addressed the officially registered mass media, which published misinformation, with a demand to refute the untrue and discrediting information about the Golos Movement and its members that was circulated by these mass media.

General statistics

The Golos Movement conducts short-term observations in 19 regions. Voting is monitored for its compliance with international and Russian standards for free expression of the will, and it is based on the regional data received from voters and organizers of voting, observers and mass media representatives through various communication channels, including the 8 800 500-54-62 hotline, the Violations Map, mass media, Internet, social media and instant messengers.

The Golos Movement received 152 hotline calls (the total hotline call time of the operators was 9 hours and 24 minutes) and 282 reports to the Violations Map and to other telecom channels on September 9, the first day of voting.

The top five regions in terms of the number of the reports on possible violations submitted to the Violations Map on the first day of voting were as follows:

  1. Moscow city: 185
  2. Udmurt Republic: 22
  3. Krasnodar Krai: 21
  4. Pskov Oblast: 9
  5. Tambov Oblast: 9

The regions showing the highest number of reports submitted to the Violations Map during the election campaign period are currently as follows:

  1. Moscow city: 384
  2. Krasnodar Krai: 89
  3. Udmurt Republic: 78
  4. Kirov Oblast: 57
  5. Omsk Oblast: 28
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