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    Russia's electoral board moves to abolish preliminary voting

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    Russia's Central Elections Commission has proposed that preliminary voting, where those who cannot vote on election day cast their ballots early, be abolished at all levels, a CEC official said Tuesday.

    Russia's Central Elections Commission has proposed that preliminary voting, where those who cannot vote on election day cast their ballots early, be abolished at all levels, a CEC official said Tuesday.

    Maya Grishina said the CEC had submitted the proposal to the executive office of the Russian president.

    The initiative comes in response to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's state-of-the-nation address last November where he said preliminary voting on the local level should be terminated as a source of potential violations.

    Grishina stressed that the initiative did not concern voting in hard-to-access and remote areas where preliminary voting was essential since it took significantly longer to accomplish.

    She said absentee ballots should be retained since their abolition would violate citizens' electoral rights.

    The CEC official said the preliminary voting procedure was often abused at municipal elections, leading to numerous problems and complaints.

    The idea of abolishing preliminary voting was urged by A Just Russia, a quasi-opposition, essentially pro-Kremlin party, on the grounds that it caused large-scale violations, specifically ballot stuffing.

    Party leader Sergei Mironov said preliminary voting was "absolutely senseless" in a situation where there is no turnout threshold and no more than 20 to 30% of the electorate vote at the very best.

    The ruling United Russia party, which has a parliamentary majority, said it was ready to consider the CEC initiative if it was presented as a draft law and that it would give "opposition" parties a better deal.

    MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) 

     

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