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Flipping Moscow Opposition candidates lose in the Russian capital as electronic voting results roll in at the last minute

Source: Meduza
Evgeny Feldman / Meduza

On Monday, September 20, official election results showed that nominal opposition candidates running for the State Duma failed to win in any of Moscow’s single-mandate constituencies. 

Several candidates were in the lead, only to see their electoral districts flip during the final vote count. As reported by the Dozhd television channel, with 99.57 percent of the votes counted in Moscow’s electoral district No.198, self-nominated candidate Anastasia Bryukhanova was in the lead with 27.14 percent. A Just Russia candidate Galina Khovanskaya was in second place with 25.55 percent. However, after all of the votes were tallied, Khovanskaya pulled ahead, winning the constituency with 28.78 percent of the votes. Officially, Bryukhanova’s final result was 23.28 percent. 

In electoral district No. 201, Communist Party (KPRF) candidate Anastasia Udaltsova was poised to defeat United Russian candidate Svetlana Razvorontneva up until 99 percent of the votes were counted, RBC wrote. When 78 percent of the votes had been processed, Udaltsova was in the lead with 31.47 percent. But according to the final vote count she lost first place — election officials announced that Ravzorontneva won 35.72 percent of the vote and Udlatsova obtained just 25.3 percent. A similar situation occurred with candidate Valery Rashkin, who leads the KPRF’s Moscow branch. He was set to win his constituency when 99.5 percent of the votes were counted, but lost after the final tally. 

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov reported that according to the voting results from polling stations in Moscow, six candidates from the KPRF should have won their districts. “In the morning the [electronic ballots] were introduced and everything was crossed out [...] Suddenly, it turns out that United Russia wins everywhere in Moscow,” Zyuganov said. “We won’t recognize this, it’s unacceptable.” The Communist Party subsequently refused to recognize the results of electronic voting in Moscow. 

More than 17 hours after voting closed, elections officials had yet to announce the results of online voting in the Russian capital. Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov, the head of the Moscow election monitoring headquarters, said that the voting results were submitted to the Central Election Commission (CEC) at 4:00 a.m. on Monday. A Meduza source close to the municipal leadership also confirmed that the online voting results were submitted to the CEC, but hadn’t been released yet.

According to the Telegram Channel Mozhem Obyasnit, electronic voting results from nine of Moscow’s electoral districts were published in chat groups for independent election commission members. The preliminary results showed that “Smart Vote” and KPRF candidates were set to win in these constituencies, but lost in the end.

In an Instagram post, jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny said that according to data from polling stations, “in Moscow ‘Smart Vote’ candidates won in 11 out of 15 electoral districts, and in St. Petersburg [they won] in seven out of eight.”

Left: Voting results in Moscow without taking into account electronic ballots. Right: Voting results in Moscow with electronic ballots. Green represents “Smart Vote” candidates and blue is Kremlin-backed candidates.

Moscow’s election commission finally published the electronic voting results around 4:00 p.m. local time. However, the data set was broken down to the level of individual precincts, meaning that to determine the results of online voting, you have to analyze lists of polling stations in each electoral district.

The Central Election Commission was supposed to announce the results of the State Duma elections at 2:00 p.m. Moscow time on Monday, but postponed the reveal. The CEC later said that the final results are expected on Friday.

Story by Alexander Baklanov

Translation by Eilish Hart

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