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ReportObserversRussian Federation09 September 2023, 09:40
Collage: Ksenia Telmanova

Key trends on the voting day

Coercion to vote

On the morning of the first day of voting, workday Friday, the main stream of reports of violations traditionally consists of evidence of voter coercion. A significant contribution this year is made by reports of the use of digital technologies and, above all, remote electronic voting (DEG) for coercion. At the end of the day, the turnout via DEG in a number of regions was more than 60%. In the Altai Territory it was 73%, in Kamchatka - 65%, in the Moscow Region - 72%, in the Pskov Region - 73%, and so on. It is impossible to explain such an en masse desire of voters to vote remotely on the very first day, which is also a weekday, by anything other than coercion. The turnout in the Kemerovo region on the first day is also indicative - almost 47% of the total number of voters.

At the same time, the “Map of Violations” and the media received many reports of forced voting: from Yakutia, Krasnoyarsk, Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories, Vladimir, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Lipetsk, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Oryol, Samara, Sverdlovsk regions, and also Moscow.

Reports of coercion come from both public and commercial institutions: hospitals, schools, universities, banks, etc.

Some turnout control technologies are clearly centralized rather than regional in their nature. Thus, from several regions in different parts of the country (from the Far East to the North-West) reports were received that voters were forced to report their participation in elections by geolocation: voters are requested to come to the polling station and open the link sent to them via SMS. It leads to a website with the United Russia logo. One needs to be within a radius of 150 meters from the PEC, otherwise the system “will not be able to record the turnout.” To confirm, the authors of the guide request the voters to be sure to enable geolocation on their smartphones.

Malfunctions of electronic voting terminals

Once again, in Moscow, since the morning of the first day of voting, there have been malfunctions in the operation of the DEG system. Members of election commissions and voters themselves complained en masse about freezing of the electronic voting terminal system. As a result, voters have been queuing at many Moscow polling stations early in the morning and waiting to be added to the lists.

At the same time, at a number of polling stations, commission members refused to issue paper ballots to voters if they could not or did not want to vote through the terminal. Thus, at Moscow PEC No. 274, voters had to pressure commission members to give them a paper ballot. According to the commission, a paper ballot can only be issued during home-based voting, or if the equipment breaks down.

As a result of these problems, some voters, tired of waiting, turned around and left the polling station without voting.

Multiple voting by the same people, stuffing, bribery

Reports of attempted multiple voting on September 8 came primarily from two regions - the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Moscow Region. The media received a recording of instructions from the “carousel voting organizers”, featuring voices similar to those of the staffers of the mayor’s office of Podolsk near Moscow. And in Pushkin, near Moscow, at polling station No. 2425, ballot stuffing was reported; the ballot box had a neatly folded stack of ballots in it. This happened after the observer left the polling station to monitor home-based voting. In connection with the reported violation, the police and TEC representative Inna Galustyan arrived at polling station No. 2425, accusing the observers of disrupting the elections and interfering with the work of members of the precinct election commission.

Observers of the LDPR candidate for governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory recorded attempts by the same persons to vote multiple times at a number of polling stations. For example, they recorded a case of a young woman voting at two polling stations 249 and 247 in Krasnoyarsk. The chairman of the commission refused to accept the complaint from the observers and referred them to the territorial commission. A similar suspicious situation was noticed at Krasnoyarsk polling station No. 204. There, a voter approached a member of the commission while not being registered for residence at this PEC. She was granted a ballot and voted. Neither the commission nor the woman herself answered the observers' questions. Next to polling stations No. 212 and No. 213, journalists from the online publication Borus filmed two women sitting in a car, sorting through some lists. As soon as the operator approached them, they hastily put away the papers. Eyewitnesses assure that these women have already been seen at three polling stations in Krasnoyarsk. Journalists believe that they caught the participants of the “carousel voting” on video.

Bribery attempts, traditional for some regions, are also taking place. In the elections of district deputies in the Ongudai region of the Altai Republic, residents were traditionally offered a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka in exchange for their vote. Reports of bribery also came from Yakutia.

Violation of the rights of commission members, observers and media representatives

Problems with the rights of observers arose mainly when scandalous situations happened. Thus, in Krasnoyarsk, observers were barred from familiarizing themselves with the voter list. In Pushkin, near Moscow, the police kicked a journalist out of station No. 2417 because they decided that “he had already asked all the questions and had to go.” This happened after the journalist made a remark to the director of the school hosting the polling station, saying that she was in the voting room in no official capacity. In Ongudai, Altai Republic, observers were prohibited from filming videos after reports of violations appeared in the media. At a voting station near Moscow, where ballot stuffing could have occurred, the police detained Alexei Brazhnikov, a journalist from the Anti-Corruption Information Agency, and brought him to the precinct. Also, reports of violations of the rights of observers came from the Saratov and Smolensk regions.

On a separate note, it is worth noting the refusal to allow online voting observer Viktor Tolstoguzov onto the premises of the federal DEG TEC. At the entrance, he was told that he was on the “FSO blacklist,” although the FSO had nothing to do with the elections. This case is especially important since more than 1 million voters applied to vote through the federal DEG system.

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 first day of voting, as of 23:59 Moscow time on September 8, the “Golos” movement received 27 calls to the hotline, 110 reports to the “Map of Violations” and through other electronic communication channels.

In total, during the election campaign, ___ calls were received to the hotline (the total call time of operators was 1 day 10 hours 21 minutes), 649 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 8:

  1. Moscow — 55
  2. Moscow region — 18
  3. Krasnoyarsk region — 8
  4. Ryazan region — 8
  5. Samara region — 4

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 — 83
  2. Moscow region — 77
  3. Khakassia — 57
  4. Ivanovo region — 48
  5. Novgorod region — 47

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