Election officials have been ordered to make sure that United Russia collects double the number of votes it is expected to win in State Duma elections on Sunday — even if they have to falsify the results, a senior election official said. The Central Elections Commission strongly denied the allegation.
But accounts from other people familiar with the issue — including opposition politicians and state-paid workers, who spoke of mounting pressure to round up votes for United Russia — appeared to confirm the election official’s remarks.
The official, who heads a key regional election committee, said United Russia was gunning for double the number of votes that the latest opinion polls indicate it will win. “This is a quite a hard task,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
The official said the only way out would be fraud. The official spoke of being involved in ballot stuffing in previous Duma elections but said an alternative that is less likely to raise suspicions is to change a polling station’s protocol — the record of how many voters show up and how many votes go to each party.
“During past Duma elections this was the most common way to falsify the results. We would do it in front of foreign observers because they didn’t understand anything on what was going on,” the official said.
A court order is required to examine protocols after an election, and the order is difficult to get, the official said.
The Central Elections Commission strongly denied falsifications and said Sunday’s elections would adhere strictly to the law. “No vote rigging will be allowed,” commission spokeswoman Viktoria Galanina said.
Full Article: Russian election insider outlines fraud – The New York Times.