The CEC will vote on the constitutional amendments under the new procedure, explaining the situation with coronavirus. Human rights activists warn about possible fraud.
Despite the pandemic coronavirus, on July 1, assigned to a nationwide vote on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The procedure of exactly how to spend it, was entrusted to develop the Central election Commission of the Russian Federation (CEC RF). But the result pleased human rights advocates. They believe that the new voting mechanisms will create the conditions for fraud and manipulation of results. What did criticize the procedure of the upcoming vote?
Bet on early voting
Although voting day is scheduled for July 1, in fact it will last for the whole week. This means that you can leave your vote can be at any convenient day, starting from June 25. Enough to come at a common area (will be open the entire week) or to request to vote at home and vote electronically (option only for residents of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod region), or to come to the stations “outside of the polling place, including on the adjoining territories,” says the website of the CEC.
Parts, what format will this “street” vote, yet. For example, on the CEC website depicts outdoor tents, where there are ballot boxes. However, they are already made by the Chairman of the Moscow city election Commission Yury Yermolov.
Vote the long week done in order to avoid mass concentrations of people. The CEC head Ella Pamfilova has promised that one polling station will be able to vote 8-12 people per hour, for a maximum of one hundred and fifty people for the whole day.
“This is very little. It is obvious that the emphasis is on voting outside the voting day, co – Chairman of the movement “Golos” Gregory Melkonyants. According to him, quality control of moving groups for voting all week impossible. “Do not rule out the possibility that observers simply do not know where the real vote was held, and on 1 July they will announce the results,” – said the expert.
Criticism of voting at home
“In terms of coronavirus and it cannot be otherwise, I plan to vote early. And from the point of view of purity of the procedure, everything will depend on the activity of those people who are interested in the fairness of elections. If there are enough observers, early voting is also possible to control”, – said the first Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the lower house of Parliament on state construction and legislation Mikhail Emelyanov from the party “Fair Russia”. He and several deputies initiated the draft law on distance and postal voting at elections in Russia, including at the Federal level. He was accepted in mid-may.
Meanwhile, the new voting procedure provides for the changing conditions of voting at home. If before it needed a good reason (such as illness), it is now a form of voting is available to any voter. Just call the election Commission and appoint a time. But there is a reason for criticism from human rights activists. After all, it is at times increases the load on observers, who will have to go with the urn home directly to the voter.
Observers on all will not suffice
Stretched for a week a vote requires that members of election commissions and observers was at times more. But it is likely that even those who worked in previous years at sites refuse, said Grigory Melkonyants, as afraid of Contracting coronavirus. “They may in fact impose a duty to walk the apartments, which can be coronavirus patients” – he said. Some people also will be eliminated at the stage of tests for coronavirus – it is assumed that they will have to go to the Commission.
Hundreds of members of election commissions with deliberative vote already called for a boycott of these elections. “We are not rashodnie? material. We don’t want to endanger the lives of their spouses, children? and parents?. We don’t want to be ubii? tsami. Therefore, we will not organize a vote July 1 – and we encourage everyone to join our fan? the strike,” they wrote in an open letter on 8 June.
Those who agree, will be very constrained in their work areas. For example, members of the Commission and observers will need to keep your distance. “If the observer wants something to be sure and come closer to the voter or even to a colleague, he can be easily accused of violating. And withdraw from the land for violation of electoral procedures, and epidemiological,” said Melkonyants.
But the Deputy of the state Duma Mikhail Emelyanov sees no reason to move the vote to a later date, as “the constitutional process can not last forever”. Epidemiological situation he called “appropriate”. “Nobody knows how long the pandemic will be the second wave or not. Now there is a pause in the spread of coronavirus infection. It is advisable to use it in order to complete the process of amending the Constitution,” convinced the public.
The Chairman of the Central election Commission, Ella Pamfilova also convinced that to go to vote on the site will be “safer shopping”.
Loophole for fraud: prepared voter lists
Observers “Voices” also would like to stress that this vote is withdrawn, an important procedural norm. Namely, the requirement that passport data of voters from General lists were made manually. In other words, before any voters had either on your own or with the help of a member of the Commission fill handle long column with passport data and sign up. According to Melkonyants, there is a possibility that the vote for the amendment, leaving only the signature and the passport data will be printed in advance.
“This is a dream of counterfeiters, when you know the passport details of people. This simplifies the lives of those who will cheat the turnout, because you can do registry for citizens who do not go to vote. Instead of a signature they can put any flourish. And then prove that the voter is not signed!”, – said the expert.
No agitation against the amendments
According to the CEC, to vote on amendments to the Constitution there is no political struggle, and therefore agitation is not, in principle, only “informing”. “Informing on holding of voting on amendments is vested in the electoral Commission and the media”, – said CEC member Maya Grishina. Disagree the organizers of the “NO” campaign and human rights activists. They demanded that the Commission of equal opportunities for campaigning against the amendments. To campaign against the amendments began in the Communist party.
“In fact, we see that the political struggle is still there, – says Melkonyants. – The incumbent President has a personal benefit from the outcome of this vote. Officials who depend on him, are campaigning in favor of amendments using budget funds and state media.” In this information field the citizens are not free to form an opinion on the amendments, the expert concludes. For example, after listening to the debate with the arguments “for” and “against”, or going to the rally.