The Russian Lower House has approved an amendment allowing the annulment of election results if voters complain of irregularities. The bill changing the federal law on the basic guarantees of voters’ rights has been presented following last year’s ruling of the Constitutional Court confirming that ordinary citizens can contest election results, though only in the constituencies in which they cast their votes. Previously, the processes of investigating violations at elections could only be started after complaints from candidates or participating parties.
The new bill stipulates that any voter can turn to the courts with complaints over the decisions, actions or inactions of the district elections commissions. The new rule applies to elections to state bodies and to referendums. If a court finds the election results invalid a recount of votes is automatically ordered, but only in the constituency where the proven violations took place.
The initial Constitutional Court lawsuit had been launched after the parliamentary poll that took place in December 2011. Alleged violations during this voting caused thousands of Russians to take to the streets in protest which ended in violence and detentions in the so-called Bolotnaya Square case.