Support The Moscow Times!

Now is the time to support independent reporting from Russia!

Contribute Today

Moscow Duma Chairman Defends Automated System That Overshot Vote Tally

Sergei Kiselyov / Moskva News Agency

Machines don’t make mistakes — or so we’re led to believe.

A Moscow municipal lawmaker put the maxim to the test when she decided to do a head count of voters present during a recent Duma session.

To her chagrin, Moscow City Duma deputy Yelena Shuvalova found herself 10 people short compared with the automated count posted to a screen in the Duma hall, according to video of a Dec. 26 meeting she made public this week.

“The screen shows a vote of 33 for and three against — that’s 36 people,” the Communist Party member told City Duma chairman Alexei Shaposhnikov after conducting her headcount. “But I counted 26.”

The chairman, however, was unwavering in his backing of the voting system. “I trust it fully,” he told Shuvalova.

When challenged, Shaposhnikov doubled down with his defense, telling the assemblywoman: “The existing system fully meets the Duma’s working capacity.”

In another video, Shuvalova postulated that other vote-counting machines could operate in exactly the same way.

“Where’s the guarantee for Muscovites?” she asked.

Read more