December 4 will see parliamentary elections in Russia. However, Russian citizens who are now living and working abroad will also have a possibility to vote. On December 4, polling stations will open in all countries with which Russia has diplomatic relations. For the first time, they will be equipped with a technical novelty – electronic devices which will ease the procedure of voting and calculating the votes.
In total, there are over 1.7 mln Russian citizens abroad now – at least, those who are registered by consulates, – mostly, in former Soviet republics, Israel, the US and Europe. However, polling stations will appear in all countries with which Russia has diplomatic relations.
The main novelty of the electronic voting devices is that with them, you don’t need any paper bulletins. At the polling station, you get a plastic card and insert it into the device. On a sensor screen, the names of the candidates appear, and you just press the name of the one you’ve chosen. After that, the device gives you something like a reciept which confirms that you have voted.
The Central Election Committee’s secretary Nikolay Konkin says:
“These electronic voting devices will be used in Germany, Israel and Latvia, and also at the Baykonur space launching area in Kazakhstan, which is rented by Russia. There will be as many as 6 polling stations at Baykonur. However, the biggest number of voting devices will be sent to Germany – there are 500 thousand Russians in Germany, who have a right to vote. Earlier, it has always been a bit too hard to send all these paper bulletins to Germany and store them at polling stations. We hope that with the new devices, the procedure of voting will be mush easier, and there will be no long queues.”
The voting of Russians abroad will be monitored both by Russian and by foreign observers. Here is Nikolay Konkin again.
“There are no restrictions for how many observers can be present at voting in consulates. According to laws, observers from political parties, the candidates’ authorized representatives, international observers and journalists can be present.”