Large-scale mail-in voting and late results in the 2020 U.S. presidential election could raise concerns over the transparency and legitimacy of the voting process, a senior Russian election official has said.
Nearly 100 million Americans have already voted early, both in person and by mail, as the coronavirus pandemic has upended the traditional approach to Election Day. President Donald Trump and his supporters have repeatedly railed against mail-in voting, highlighting that U.S. intelligence agencies have linked the practice to Russia’s efforts to undermine trust in the electoral process.
NIkolai Bulayev, the deputy chief of Russia’s Central Election Commission, called the U.S. election “alarming,” “dangerous” and “opaque” in comments on state television.
“Voting by mail at that volume cannot but be alarming because it’s so opaque,” Bulayev told the Rossia 24 broadcaster, claiming that some states are raising doubts even further by allegedly banning election monitors.
Bulayev cited media reports to bolster his arguments, claiming that “people who are long dead are casting ballots and that mailboxes are being broken into.”
Commenting on the likelihood that election results may not be announced on Tuesday night in case of a tight race, Bulayev said “counting votes for nine days is a dangerous procedure.”
“The results of such a vote with such large-scale use of mail-in voting cannot but cause concern about the legitimacy of this process,” he said, as quoted by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
“I think that both candidates will file lawsuits. These claims will look quite reasonable on the surface, because such a vote of course is amusing,” Bulayev said.
The Kremlin has said that Russia would work with either Trump or Biden, who is heavily favored to win this Tuesday. President Vladimir Putin has recently praised and criticized both men.