Electoral Fraud in the Russian Duma ElectionsDecember 8th, 2011 Foreign Policy | News | Russia | Seminars
Opportunities for electoral fraud were definitely present, said four moderate MPs who visited Russia during the Duma elections on December 4. On Thursday the team shared their experiences and analysis at a breakfast seminar arranged by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation.
In particular, the election observers pointed out, there were ample opportunities to cheat during the so-called mobile voting (for elderly at home) and at the many unattended ballot boxes in the more than 90,000 polling stations around the country. Ulrik Nilsson mentioned electoral lists where United Russia had beforehand been marked with a cross. Stefan Caplan noted that at some of the polling stations, he visited, there were more ballots than voters, after polling closed!
“United Russia’s grip of the Russian soul is decreasing significantly”, said Ulrik Nilsson at the breakfast seminar when he was asked about what the election results might lead to.
He and other observers gave the audience a unique insight into what happened in a number of the many polling stations. The images showed flaws in the system which allows for cheating and fraud.
Lack of valsekretess was also something that many of the observers noted. How ballots reviewed by election officials (all have a ballot where you check for the party you vote for) and how many people voted together.
“In one polling station, there was a single polling booth, so it was a statement as such, when someone took advantage of the opportunity to keep his or hers vote secret, said Ulrik Nilsson.
“I was in Irkutsk in southern Siberia”, said Elisabeth Björnsdotter Rahm.
She explained that the election observers’ interpretor had been interrogated by the security police and that the election results in several of the polling stations she visited, surprised even the Russian election officials:
“The female chairman of a polling station read out the result and you could see how frightened, and indeed panicked she was. The Communists had won!”
“In many other countries, people come to us and want to talk. But not in Russia, explained Margaret Cederfelt who has served as election observer in a number of countries.