Ella Pamfilova comments on the access to video records of elections and on the implementation of a "Mobile voter" during the election of the President


On 4 July 2018 Chairperson of the CEC of Russia Ella Pamfilova commented on providing access to video records and on question of the application of the mechanism "Mobile voter" during the election of the President on 18 March 2018.

On access to videos, and assessment of voter activity

"The CEC of Russia has established the procedure for surveillance, including the order of access to video records from polling stations,” said Ella Pamfilova, “In addition, the CEC of Russia did not limit, but only streamlined access including time limits. Only a registered candidate and a political party which nominated a registered candidate have an opportunity to get access to the video records of an event considered to be a violation from any polling station where surveillance was conducted. Other participants of electoral process may request records only from the polling station where he or she was present on the day of voting."

The Chairperson of the CEC of Russia noted that the procedure of getting access to the records is completely transparent. If a participant of the electoral process saw any violation, he or she may request the video record and use it to defend their electoral rights.

Since the voting day, election commissions of constituent entities of the Russian Federation have received 196 applications to get access to video records. In 98 cases they were refused due to incorrectly completed applications. In particular, in 36 cases applicants didn't state precise violations, but put forward abstract explanation, such as "to control" or "to check".

"In 98 cases, when the applications were filled in correctly, video records were submitted to the applicants. That is, despite the claims of some experts about the impossibility to obtain video records, in almost 100 cases such materials were provided," said Ella Pamfilova.

The Chairperson of the CEC of Russia noted that the CEC of Russia is ready to provide assistance to those participants of the electoral process who filled in the application forms incorrectly and still have interest in the mentioned video records.

“Currently, the CEC of Russia is reviewing four applications, and we will ask the relevant election commissions to assist applicants with correct filling in the forms and to provide the materials,” said Ella Pamfilova, “In the future we are ready to discuss with the expert community a simplification of the order of access of participants of electoral process to video records.”

Commenting on the counting of number of voters participating in the election using video records, the Chairperson of the CEC of Russia stressed that the use of video surveillance to assess voter turnout is not foreseen by the law.

“It's impossible to replace law-based procedures of counting votes and determining the results of the vote with video surveillance,” said Ella Pamfilova, “In case someone believes that some violations took place, the law allows to apply to judicial or law enforcement authorities”.

On the impossibility of repeat voting with the use of "Mobile voter"

As reported by Ella Pamfilova, in the aftermath of the election of the President of the Russian Federation 678 cases when theoretically the voter could have voted twice were revealed in the CEC of Russia, which is less than 1\10000 of a percent of the total number of voters. By the decision of the CEC all cases of potential double voting were reviewed. The opening of lists of voters was conducted publicly, with the invitation of members of the territorial election commissions.

"Overall, only five cases of repeat voting were established. One of them was on the day of the vote – a member of one of Moscow territorial election commissions Pavel Melnikov voted twice, and four cases – after the voting day as a result of the review by election commissions," said the Chairperson of the CEC of Russia.

The Russian Interior Ministry informed the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation that out of the four cases identified by the review, in the first case, the actions of the voter are seen as a violation of article 5.22 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences, and in the other three cases the ballots were received by unknown third-party persons instead of the voters. Currently, the review procedure is on-going.

Ella Pamfilova said that such a negligible number of violations during the voting at the location confirms the exceptional reliability and efficiency of measures developed by the CEC of Russia to control the work of the "Mobile voter".