On 11 April 2019 a meeting of the Scientific expert сouncil (SEC) of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation was held, where members of the CEC of Russia and representatives of the expert community discussed the question of organization and work plan of the Council.
Welcoming her colleagues, the Chairperson of the CEC of Russia Ella Pamfilova stressed that the CEC actively and constructively interacts with the expert community through consultations on important issues.
Ella Pamfilova outlined four main areas of cooperation between the CEC of Russia and the SEC: development of the country's electoral system development strategy, resolution of urgent issues of law enforcement practice in the field of existing electoral legislation and improvement of work of the CEC of Russia with partners – observers, mass media and law enforcement agencies. The Scientific expert council should assist the Commission in improving law enforcement practices.
The Deputy Chairperson of the CEC of Russia Nikolay Bulaev presented to the members of the Council the program of the experiment on the creation of digital polling stations. He outlined the main stages of development of the “Mobile voter” system, stating that digital sites are the next step in its development.
The Deputy Chairperson of the CEC of Russia described in detail the mechanism for submitting an application for inclusion in the voters list at a digital polling station, underlined the possibility of withdrawal of such application. He demonstrated to the participants of the meeting two possible variants of voting at the digital polling station on prototypes of devices for processing and counting of votes – on the complex for electronic voting with the individual access code and on the complex of processing of ballots with the help of a paper ballot.
“The implementation of this project, taking into account the comments that will be received during its discussion and preparation, will allow us to create a product that has no analogues in the world,” said the Deputy Chairperson of the CEC of Russia.
Nikolay Bulaev noted that the project to create digital polling stations is a competitor to the project to create a remote electronic voting system: “Let's see what will be in demand and what will take root. In our opinion, both can be considered as big steps towards the development of electoral technologies in Russia.”
Members of the Scientific expert council discussed the organization of further work of the SEC and created nine temporary working groups on various activities.
Alexander Brod drew attention to the need to establish contacts between the SEC and the expert community in the regions. He suggested that the Council focus on the analysis of methods of public control, positive experience of interaction with the media, issues of verification of information during the election campaigns.
Boris Makarenko noted that the only authoritative institution that has the opportunity to raise the issue of imperfection of the electoral legislation is the CEC of Russia. Therefore, the main task of the Scientific expert council is to help the CEC of Russia to understand what problems are the most acute and together with colleagues to formulate arguments for the subjects of legislative initiative.
Grigory Melkonyants presented at the meeting a number of proposals to amend the Instruction of the CEC of Russia on the procedure for the use of technical means of counting votes – ballot processing complexes. The proposals are formulated by the working group on analyses of vulnerability of voting day procedures in relation to the ballot processing complexes of the 2010 batch. Grigory Melkonyants noted the importance of this topic and the readiness of the CEC of Russia to amend the Instruction to improve the voting procedure. Most of the proposals were approved and taken into account in the new version of the Instruction.