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With 51 Parties, 2-Meter-Long Ballot Foreseen

The Central Elections Commission has warned that the voting ballot for 2013 elections could be 2 meters in length, with 51 political parties already registered for elections.

"Just yesterday we received a letter from the Justice Ministry: 34 political parties have the right to participate in elections, and 51 are currently registered," deputy chairman of the commission, Leonid Ivlev, said at a roundtable in the Public Chamber, Interfax reported Wednesday.

"With that in mind, if 51 parties take part in the elections, the length of the ballot could be 197 centimeters," he said, unfurling a paper that was taller than he was.

Ivlev also noted that the ballot boxes would fill up quickly if the ballots were that long, presenting yet another problem.

He said specialists had worked on resolving the ballot size issue, but so far had not found a solution that would "satisfy everyone." One idea involves a final page that could be torn off after the voter's selections are made.

With an increase in the number of parties, he said, comes an increase in the cost of preparing the ballots.

"Even now, the ballot for an electronic ballot box costs twice as much as for an ordinary garbage can, and by then it will be 10-15 times as much," he said.

It's vital that lawmakers resolve the ballot size matter by May 30, he said.

According to new legislation, elections at all levels of government will be held on the same day, the second Sunday of September, meaning that the next municipal elections will be held on Sept. 8, 2013.

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