Smooth Opening at Most Polling Stations, GOLOS Expresses Concerns About Absentee Voting Procedures and Pressure on GOLOS Representatives

13 марта 2010 г.

Today, on March the 14th, 2010, about 700 representatives of “GOLOS” Association are observing elections in Altay Republic, Vladimir, Voronezh, Kurgan, Ryazan and Sverdlovsk regions, as well as in the cities of Astrakhan, Vladimir, Yekaterinburg, Ivanonvo, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Novorossiysk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Tula and Chelyabinsk. This release represents information reported by GOLOS correspondents by 10:00 AM local time.

Smooth Opening at Most Polling Stations, GOLOS Expresses Concerns About Absentee Voting Procedures and Pressure on GOLOS Representatives
Today, on March the 14th, 2010, about 700 representatives of “GOLOS” Association are observing elections in Altay Republic, Vladimir, Voronezh, Kurgan, Ryazan and Sverdlovsk regions, as well as in the cities of Astrakhan, Vladimir, Yekaterinburg, Ivanonvo, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Novorossiysk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Tula and Chelyabinsk. This release represents information reported by GOLOS correspondents by 10:00 AM local time.

In general, polling station openings in regions went smoothly and without serious irregularities of procedure. Nonetheless, GOLOS representatives in Krasnodar and Sverdlovsk regions and Ryazan city reported the presence of unauthorized persons in more than 15% of precinct election commissions. Additionally, in Sverdlovsk region GOLOS representatives reported that 32% of polling sites in the region did not properly handle lists for those who requested to vote outside of the polling station. In Sochi such registration was not done in 34% of precinct election commissions.

GOLOS Association is concerned about serious limitations being placed on media representatives’ rights and pressure on GOLOS correspondents in Novorossiisk, Yekaterinburg and Voronezh. GOLOS’ representatives in Novorossiisk and Yekaterinburg were not allowed in polling sites, and in Voronezh three strangers assaulted a correspondent, breaking her camera and forcing her out from precinct election commission.

All trough Election Day GOLOS’ “hot line” 8 800 333–33–50 will be in operation collecting information about irregularities, collected by media representatives, political parties and Russian citizens over the course of Election Day. The information is posted on www.88003333350.ru. Information about the voting also can be read in LiveJournal of GOLOS Association http://golos-org.livejournal.com.

Additional information can be received from Central Office representative Tetyana Bohdanova: tel. (495) 234–59–39, 8 919 762–98–61, E-mail: press@golos.org.

Correction – In an earlier version of this press release GOLOS referenced Omsk and Irkusk as examples of cities where absentee certificates were being used inappropriately. These references were made in error as neither city has elections today that permit the use of absentee certificates. GOLOS remains concerned about the misuse of absentee certificates in regions and cities, such as Svtlovska Oblast and Yekaterinburg, where reports of potential large scale absentee misuse have been received.