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Public monitors claim there’s no evidence of online voting irregularities in Moscow

Moscow’s Election Monitoring Public Committee “didn’t uncover traces of hacking and ballot stuffing in electronic voting,” said the group’s leader, Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov, on Thursday, September 23.

To back up his claim, Venediktov posted a graph on Telegram with data from Moscow’s electoral district No. 198, where self-nominee Anastasia Bryukhanova — a candidate endorsed by Team Navalny’s “Smart Vote” strategy — conceded to A Just Russia candidate Galina Khovanskaya. With 99.57 percent of the votes counted, Bryukhanova was in the lead. But she lost after the electronic voting results were tallied. 

Commenting on the graph, Bryukhanova maintained that the data “only confirm the accuracy of our conclusions.” Earlier, her team alleged that the electronic ballots had been “stuffed.” Bryukhanova claimed that her rival’s results were overstated by 19,000 votes, whereas according to the official data, she lost by about 13,000 votes.

Bryukhanova later published the same graph as Venediktov, having highlighted anomalous data points in red circles to draw attention to the times of day when the “ballot stuffing” apparently took place. “As we said, the most interesting things happen[ed] on Friday and Sunday morning. The graphs clearly show when Khovanskaya’s voters [went for] lunch, other candidates’ voters didn’t have lunch at this time for some reason,” she quipped.

Update. Later in the day on Thursday, members of Moscow’s district and territorial election commissions, together with election observers, advocated for the annulment of Moscow’s electronic voting results in an open letter addressed to Alexey Venediktov. The letter denounces Russia’s electronic voting system as “an instrument of fraud” and underscores that election observers didn’t have access to the online voting system after the polls closed on Sunday night: “No one knows and no one can verify what happened in the following 12 hours before the publication of the results.” At the time of this writing more than 500 people had signed the open letter.

After voting in the State Duma elections closed, the online voting results in Moscow were published with a significant delay. Alexey Venediktov claimed that roughly 300,000 people changed their votes at least once, adding to the time needed to process their ballots.

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