Russian election violations are reported by observers and communists

Russia's Communist Party's head, which is the country's second largest political party, has accused of committing widespread violations during the election for a new national legislature in which his party is widely anticipated to win seats.

Russian election violations are reported by observers and communists

Gennady Zyuganov, chief of the Communist Party, said Saturday that the second day of voting was over and that the police and national elections commission had to respond to reports about "a number of absolutely outrageous facts", including ballot stuffing in multiple regions.

Independent media and the Golos election-monitoring organization reported other violations, including vote-buying as well as lax security measures at polling stations.

Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Elections Commission, said Saturday night that 6,200 ballots had been canceled in five regions due to procedural violations or ballot-stuffing.

The United Russia party, which is loyal to President Vladimir Putin and appears to be able to maintain its dominant position in the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), it seems certain. Some projections show that the party may lose its two-thirds majority. This would be enough to amend the constitution. The Communists will likely win the largest share of seats that United Russia has lost.

While the Communists support Kremlin-related initiatives in the parliament's legislature, their gain of seats would be a setback for United Russia. The "Smart Voting" program, promoted by Alexei Navalny (an imprisoned opposition leader) and his team, is seen as benefiting the Communists. This program aims to undermine United Russia by helping voters determine which candidates are most likely to defeat United Russia's candidate candidates.

It's not clear how effective the program will prove to be, as Apple and Google have removed Smart Voting apps form their stores under Kremlin pressure. Its website was previously blocked by authorities. Navalny's groups have been declared extremist and anyone associated with them has been prohibited from running for office. This effectively eliminates the most important opposition candidates from the election.

Pavel Ivanov, a voter in St. Petersburg claimed he had access the service and voted for a small party that "doesn't meet my preferences to full extent but (will be) an opposition to the ruling Party."

Zyuganov stated that the party has recorded at least 44 instances of voting violations. The Communists applied for permits to hold protests next Monday, after Sunday's voting.

Znak, a news website, reported that a Moscow resident offered 1,000 rubles ($15), to those who voted for United Russia. According to the publication, it called the man and asked for proof of vote via a messaging app.

According to the Golos movement, local media and observers reported a variety of violations. These included ballots being kept overnight in a cabinet that had a cracked door and envelopes used for ballot tallies that appeared to have been opened and resealed.

Unexpectedly long lines formed at polling stations on Friday's first day of voting. Independent media suggested that this could be a sign that employees were being forced to vote by state institutions or companies.

However, overall turnout was low despite these lines. Pamfilova, head of the elections commission, stated that 25% had cast their ballots by Saturday afternoon, which is about half the way through the voting.

A few voters did participate, but they felt little involvement.

"I vote every single year. Nikolai Martemyanov, a Siberian resident, said to The Associated Press that what happens in the end doesn't depend on us.

On Friday, media in St. Petersburg reported on possible cases of "carousel vote," where voters cast their ballots at multiple polling stations. A video journalist from AP saw the same voters at two polling stations. One of them stated that the group had mistakenly gone to the wrong station.

A member of the Russian election commission posted a video where a man tried to cast multiple ballots, and was then confronted by a poll worker. The man in the video claimed that he obtained his ballots from a subway station.

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