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Moscow’s local electoral commissions facing major personnel shortages ahead of July 1 plebiscite

Source: Open Media

On June 16, members of Moscow’s local election commissions were set to hold their first meetings on conducting the July 1 plebiscite on constitutional amendments. However, several regions have only half the required number of electoral commission personnel, Open Media reports, citing members of the territorial electoral commission and election monitor coordinators. 

One coordinator from northern Moscow told Open Media that there are districts where only one or two members of the local electoral commission are willing to work the upcoming plebiscite; the rest have refused. She claimed that both “independent and pro-government voting members of the commission are refusing.”

Local electoral commissions typically have 10-12 voting members. If half of these members don’t show up to their appointed polling station on the day of the nationwide vote, voting at the site will be cancelled.

“According to the fragmentary information that comes from the [territorial electoral commission], there is now approximately a 20-25 percent lack of voting members of local electoral commissions. But it could be more,” a coordinator from Moscow’s North-Western Administrative Okrug told Open Media. 

Open Media’s sources emphasized that these are their personal preliminary assessments of the extent of the problem.

Members of local electoral commissions who do come to work during the vote can be removed from the commission in one of two ways: either through a court order, or by stepping down of their own accord.

Earlier, some local electoral commission members called on their colleagues to boycott the upcoming vote, calling it a danger to themselves and to voters because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More than 470 local electoral commission members from cities across Russia signed the statement.

The voting period for Russia’s plebiscite on constitutional amendments is set to run from June 25 until July 1.

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