23 june

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“Our goal is maximum outreach when monitoring the voting process” — Maxim Grigoryev

The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation held a press conference where members expressed their readiness to monitor the voting process on amendments to the Constitution

“Our goal is maximum outreach when monitoring the voting process” — Maxim Grigoryev

On June 23, a press conference was held at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation where participants expressed their readiness to monitor the nationwide vote on amending the Constitution. The press conference also summed up the results of the campaign for selecting candidates as observers.

“At present, we can confidently say that we have all the necessary human resources to ensure full public monitoring in all regions where work is already underway allocating polling stations to observers,” said Maxim Grigoryev, Head of the Civic Chamber working group on public monitoring on voting.

According to Grigoryev, the deadlines for nominations are extensive — nominations can be submitted up until the day right before the vote.

He recalled that in March the Civic Chamber concluded agreements with several federal public associations as well as political parties in terms of attracting observers to monitor the vote.

“We have been accepting applications for three months now. Almost everyone who wanted to become an observer was able to submit applications during this period. Nevertheless, the submission of documents continues in the Civic Chamber as well as the regional civic chambers. Together with Civic Chamber members, over 1,600 representatives from the most diverse public associations and 18 political parties will conduct monitoring,” he said.

He emphasized that the number of public organizations participating in the monitoring procedure was increasing with each passing day. “We can see a wide range of diverse organizations almost representing the entire spectrum of civil society organizations.”

“Our goal is maximum outreach when monitoring the voting process. At all polling stations, the required number of observers will be involved. We have set the bar as high as possible and we must correspond to it. Thus, only from public organizations we will have more than 260 thousand observers, while the number from political parties is more than 10 thousand. Applications continue to be submitted. At the moment, our database has already registered more than 380 thousand candidates for the role of observers, this is an unprecedentedly large figure,” noted Maxim Grigoryev.

According to the social activist, all those wishing to become observers were registered. “Favourable decisions were made for all applications containing the necessary package of documents. Right now I am approving the candidacy of the famous politician Boris Nadezhdin who is part of the opposition by the way. Today he will receive official approval and will be able to carry out monitoring wherever he wants.”

“From June 25, a permanent Situation Center will start operating in the Civic Chamber. In real time, we will monitor the voting process, we will evaluate the problems and issues that arise during the voting process and take all the necessary public response measures. The civic chambers of the regions will provide mobile groups in order to resolve any problematic issues. Similar situation centers will be set up in each regional civic chamber across the country,” added Maxim Grigoryev.

Head of the Civic Chamber expert group on public control of remote electronic voting Alexander Malkevich spoke about how electronic voting systems were being tested in Moscow.

“We saw everything with our own eyes and set up live broadcasts. A similar practice will be adopted during the vote: live broadcasts and streaming by interested journalists and bloggers. On Thursday the first stage of the vote is set to begin and we will be in place conducting reports,” he said.

Alexander Malkevich also addressed the issue of the rising number of false messages related to amending the Constitution itself and organizing the voting procedure.

“We have recorded an increase and change of tactics on the part of the media primarily in regard to foreign agents. Over the weekend, more than 10 publications emerged in order to influence public opinion on the upcoming popular vote. We have witnessed overt bogus stories and twisting of facts,” he said.

Alexander Malkevich assured that all the collected materials would be transferred to the relevant commissions on foreign intervention under the State Duma and the Federation Council. “I strongly believe there should be a legal assessment.”

Member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, Director of the National Medical Research Center for Preventive Medicine Oksana Drapkina recalled that, according to forecasts by experts from Rospotrebnadzor and epidemiology specialists, July 1 was the ideal date when voting should be carried out without risks or health concerns. Moreover, she emphasized that the recommendations by Rospotrebnadzor could be found on the agency’s website where each step was clearly outlined in terms of safety precautions.

“In our opinion, the measures are comprehensive and should ensure a completely safe voting process. I would like to express my gratitude to the Central Electoral Commission for paying special attention to this issue and providing detailed, logical instructions,” Oksana Drapkina was quoted as saying.

Member of the Civic Chamber, Chair of the movement “For Fair Elections” and Executive Director of the Independent Public Monitoring Association (IPMA) Alena Bulgakova talked about what the IPMA could offer observers from the technological point of view. “The portal can be effectively used for feedback, it not only contains all the necessary methodological and practical materials useful to observers and voting participants, but also allows you to report a possible violation by presenting evidence such as photos, videos and documents.”

Furthermore, the social activist presented an action plan during the voting period. “Observers will be present when extracting ballots from ballot boxes into safe packages, they will certify the sealing of each ballot box guaranteeing that each seal is checked before the opening of the polling station. This will eliminate any risks or insinuations. Already at the preparatory stage, we were forced to deal with false negative information emerging in the media and unscrupulous manipulation of public opinion used to discredit the upcoming nationwide vote. In order to have an objective assessment of each specific event at the polling stations, we have formed a regional expert network which is in full operation,” she said.

Tags: Maxim Grigoriev, Alexander Malkevich, Alena Bulgakova, Oksana Drapkina


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