The victory of Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party in parliamentary elections over the weekend has been followed by reports of voting count irregularities and electoral fraud at polling stations in Russia.
Voting count irregularities, ballot-stuffing, and repeat voting were witnessed at polling stations in two regions of the country, according to Reuters.
For instance, reporters at a polling station in Ufa counted 799 voters casting ballots, but officials reported a voter count of 1,689, more than double the figure tallied by the journalists.
A reporter also obtained a temporary registration and voted at a polling station in Saransk, casting a ballot for a party other than the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. But officials recorded no votes cast for the party for which the reporter voted.
Videos posted to social media also appear to show ballot-stuffing at polling stations.
Ещё немного о голосовании в Дагестане. И таких фактов с каждой минутой все больше. pic.twitter.com/USctdjIBM7
— Beslan Uspanov (@beslanu) September 18, 2016
Ella Pamfilova, who chairs Russia’s Central Election Commission, said that she was "fully confident that the elections are proceeding in a quite legitimate way" on Sunday, according to BBC. She did note later that irregularities were witnessed at three polling stations where results could be cancelled.
Golos, a non-governmental election monitor, said that the elections were "far from truly free and fair," reporting 1,798 reports of alleged violations during the elections on Sunday. The monitor said the elections represented an improvement over parliamentary elections of 2011–which yielded allegations of widespread voter fraud–but that Russia still faces a "long and difficult road to reform."
Sunday’s parliamentary elections represented a considerable victory for President Vladimir Putin, whose United Russia party secured its largest-ever majority. United Russia won 54 percent of the vote, capturing 343 out of 450 seats in the State Duma.
Putin hailed the victory as a response to "attempts of external pressure on Russia."
"In a situation riddled with complications and a large number of uncertainties and risks, the people unconditionally choose stability, and trust the leading political force–the government. The results of the voting are also the reaction of our citizens to attempts of external pressure on Russia, to threats, sanctions, and attempts to destabilize the situation from the inside," Putin said Monday.