GOLOS Press Release on regional and local elections in Russia: Election Day Proceedings
Moscow, 9 September 2013: 8 September 2013 became the first "Single Voting Day", transferred to the second Sunday of September instead of two Single Voting Days, previously (since January 1, 2006) held in March and October.
According to the CEC, 6825 elections and referenda were scheduled, including elections of 8 heads of the regional centers, 16 deputies of the regional parliaments, 8 heads of the administrative centers of the regions, 12 representative bodies of the administrative centers of the regions.
Representatives of the Movement "GOLOS" observed the voting, vote counting and the tabulation of the voting results at the polling stations in Ivanovo, Vladimir, Volgograd, Voronezh, Novgorod, Rostov, Ryazan, Tver, Kaliningrad, Kirov, Kostroma, Lipetsk, Saratov regions, Republics of Adygea, Bashkortostan, Khakassia, Kalmykia, Karelia, the Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Moscow and Togliatti. At the polling stations of the capital of Moscow more than 8,000 representatives of the Moscow alliance of observers, including several hundred correspondents of Golos were present.
Moscow mayor elections
According to the results gained by Golos in more than fifty percent of the polling stations in Moscow, second round of the elections would be necessary to appoint the winner. According to Golos, the acting mayor Sobyanin received 49,5 % of the votes. However, the official results presented by the election commissions show Sobyanin winning in the first round gaining 51,4 % of the votes.
In the polling stations where observers were present the records of Golos and the official results are identical. Crucial for the results which make Sobyanin the winner in the first round are those presented by the election commission where no election observers were present. This raise concerns over the legitimacy of the elections in Moscow.
There is a need for a public investigation to establish the true election results since violations of the law have been detected by Golos and the alliance of civic observers.
In the polling stations where Golos’ observers were present, two measures that seemed to be used to influence the result by using the administrative resources were identified:
- Golos observed an increased percentage of mobile voting (5%) which could influence the voting results by getting votes of the voters who depends on social benefits and therefore is expected to be more loyal to the current regime
- There was a shortage of absentee voting certificates which made it impossible for many observers and members of commission to vote in their home polling station, which is beneficial for the incumbent.
Voting in the regions
The same kind of irregularities and methods of falsifications as before the elections in 2011 were recorded in the regions. The manipulations affected all stages of the electoral process from the registration of the candidates until the counting of the votes. This shows that the regional authorities were no longer concerned about the public control. This obvious regress is disappointing since some improvements were noticed in 2012.
The contribution of the civil society to fair elections.
The examples of Moscow and Yekaterinburg demonstrate that political competitiveness increases public interest and that the public engagement is a crucial factor to overcome authorities’ attempts to distort the public opinion. It is obvious that there were attempts of th authorities to make elections in Moscow free and fair: candidates were allowed to participate and the election commissions were instructed to avoid direct falsifications. This is a result of the fact they are aware that they act under public scrutiny in Moscow. In Yekaterinburg, thanks to a broad public participation in the election observation, attempts of the electoral commission not to recognize the true results of the vote were prevented, which led to the victory of the opposition candidate.