Already overshadowed by the arrests or disqualification of opposition politicians as well as wartime censorship laws, Russia’s 2022 elections were further marred by claims of fraud over the three days they were held.
The independent elections watchdog Golos recorded cases of ballot-stuffing, intimidation, vote buying, misrecorded votes and other forms of manipulation that critics claim the Kremlin uses to rig the results.
Local media reported that some ballots had been destroyed with “small, pre-printed” dots in a checkbox next to the ruling, pro-Kremlin United Russia party.
Election monitors widely criticized Russia’s “at-home” voting system that allowed eligible voters to cast their ballots outside polling stations, Golos said.
The watchdog said it received widespread reports of voters being turned away from polling stations because they had been registered as having cast their ballots online. Eight Russian regions including Moscow incorporated online voting, which opponents criticize as prone to falsifications due to its lack of transparency.
Sergei Mironov, head of the A Just Russia party and an opponent of online voting, posted a video of himself being unable to vote Sunday due to what he described as his “forced transfer” to remote voting.
Russia first introduced three-day voting periods in 2020 in a bid to keep Covid-19 transmissions low. Critics of the system say that extending voting beyond a single day makes instances of electoral fraud more likely to happen.