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Russian Election Observers Warn of Voter Fraud Scheme Tested in Far East

Alexander Kolbasov / TASS

Election observers have warned that Russia’s voting system has been compromised after documenting incidents of voter fraud in a regional election last week in which a Kremlin-backed incumbent pulled out of the race.

The Communist party’s Valentin Konovalov ran unopposed and was elected governor of the republic of Khakasia in Siberia with a majority of the votes last Sunday. The party’s observers encountered multiple-voting attempts there, Russia’s independent elections watchdog Golos has said. 

“We identified a technology in Khakasia that allows mass fraud by replacing the ‘mobile voter’ list to allow multiple voting by the same people,” Golos wrote on its website.

Voters had cast multiple ballots in least 37 precincts in the Khakasia town of Chernogorsk on election day, the watchdog said.

“This issue is systemic – the technology can be applied throughout the country… if urgent measures aren’t taken,” it said.

Golos said runoffs in the Far East region of Primorye scheduled for Dec. 16 risk falling victim to similar fraud schemes. Election authorities had annulled initial results there following claims of vote-rigging.

The observers called on election authorities to open voter lists to monitors.

In March, the Golos said it registered more than 1,500 violations during the presidential elections that Vladimir Putin won in a landslide, calling it unequal and uncompetitive.

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