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Russian Election Officials Send 1.2 M Voters to Navalny’s Blog After URL Mistake

Anton Kardashov / Moskva News Agency

A local Russian election commission’s error has resulted in some 1.2 million printed leaflets redirecting voters to opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s website, which is calling for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections. 

Local and regional authorities are attempting to drive up turnout in this Sunday’s elections, which President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win. Navalny has called on supporters to boycott the March 18 vote after election officials barred him from registering as a candidate.

Election officials in the city of Belgorod printed and distributed 1.2 million election invitations to local residents before learning that the website printed on the leaflets did not exist, the local “Belgorod No. 1” Telegram channel reported Tuesday.

“Navalny’s volunteers were the fastest to read our story and registered the belizbirkom.ru domain. Now, every Belgorod resident who received the invitation to vote came a little closer to their boycott,” the channel said.

The head of the Belgorod election commission later pledged to remedy the error by manually taping the correct link over the wrong address by early Wednesday, the local Belpressa.ru news website reported.

“This is not a joke,” the “Belgorod No. 1” channel wrote.

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