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Russian Court Fines Election Official $8 for Overlooking Vote Tampering

Aleksander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

A court in the Russian Urals region has fined a local election official for vote tampering, dismissing the violation as minor because the election official was “tired.”

Although Vladimir Putin won his fourth presidential term by a landslide in March, observers noted numerous violations including multiple voting and ballot-stuffing incidents caught on camera. Russia’s election office has since annulled the results of a dozen polling stations and declared the vote to be the most transparent in the country’s history.

A court in the Bashkir capital of Ufa fined local election chief Liliya Arslanova 500 rubles ($8) for overlooking a spoiled ballot in violation of election law, the Govorit Moskva radio station reported Wednesday.

“[Arslanova] was tired at the end of a busy day,” the judge reasoned, according to the plaintiff who was cited by the radio station.

The plaintiff, local journalist Darya Kucherenko, who spoiled her ballot on election day, said that video evidence from the polling station showed that there was more than one spoiled ballot that was repurposed in the vote count.

"However, the Investigative Committee refused to check these facts," Kucharenko said.

She added that Arslanova was tried in absentia and that the verdict was handed down within 5 minutes.

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