The state Duma approved the second reading of the abolition of absentee ballots in elections

© RIA Novosti / Natalia to Seliverstova in photobacteria of the State Duma on Okhotny Ryad street in Moscow. Archival photoThe state Duma approved the second reading of the abolition of absentee ballots in elections© RIA Novosti / Natalia to Seliverstova the image Bank

The state Duma adopted on Friday in the second reading the package of bills establishing the procedure for voting at the place of stay without the use of absentee ballots.

Senators of the Federation Council Andrey Klishas and Anatoly Shirokov on 3 March submitted to the state Duma a package of bills aimed at increasing transparency of the elections of the President of the Russian Federation and other levels, liberalization of the approach to the appointment of observers and improving the accessibility of voting stations. The bills were adopted in the first reading on 12 April. In the second reading the legislative initiative was substantially modified, in particular more detail was spelled out the procedure for voting on the actual location on election day instead of voting with absentee ballots.

Earlier, the head of the Duma Committee on legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov said that in case of acceptance of bills in the second reading on 19 may, the third final reading will be held on Wednesday, may 24.

Voting without absentee

Under the bill, a voter who will be voting day in a different city or region will be able to submit to the election Commission statement on inclusion in the list of voters at the place of residence in order established by the Central electoral Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation. The deadline established by the CEC within a limited scope — not earlier than 45 days and not later than 14 PM local time the day prior to the day of voting. A citizen can vote at the place of actual stay once, and statement for inclusion in the voter list at the place of location may be filed only in one electoral precinct and in person on presentation of a passport. Apply will be via the portal or in the MFC, if it is prescribed by the order of the CEC. If on voting day, the elector will come to the site at the place of residence, he may vote only by decision of the precinct election Commission after verifying the fact that he didn’t vote on the plot at the location specified in the application.

Provides and ways to protect applications against counterfeiting, including using special stamps. This sets the given brands, including during transmission to the electoral commissions, and reporting on their use. In the case of voting with absentee ballots and early voting are conducted.

Presidential election in 2018

Regarding the date of presidential elections of the Russian Federation, under current law, such a vote is held on the second Sunday of March. In this package of amendments is a provision stating that if the second Sunday is a combined, post-holiday or a working day in connection with the transfer of holidays, the day of the vote is not on the previous, and the next — that is, the third Sunday of the month. In 2018 it will be March 18.

In addition, the bill eliminates the requirement to advance in the direction of the respective election Commission of the list of observers, as well as mandatory direction of the observer only in one electoral precinct.

Fines for violations

The bill increases to 30 thousand rubles fines for repeated voting of the same persons during the day of voting, for organizing such an illegal vote, illegal results of the ballot to provide the opportunity to vote instead of the voter, for the issuance of completed ballots, and the receipt of such ballots, in case of a repeated violation — up to 50 thousand rubles. For violation of the procedure of use of special mark (stamp) in the Code of administrative offences is proposed to establish the same punishment as for violation of the legislation on elections and referendums of the issuance of absentee ballots — the penalty from 1 thousand roubles to 2,5 thousand. For using fake special mark (stamp) as for the fake absentee ballot — a fine in the amount of 1.5 thousand to 3 thousand rubles.

Video and photography at sites

It is also proposed to legislate the possibility of CCTV in the premises for voting and transmission of images to provide voters with information about the voting process. The list informing about the elections the media in addition to traditional, complemented by a network media.

It is also proposed to establish by law the right of observers to make in the polling photos and video by notifying the Chairperson or Secretary of the precinct election Commission.

Downsizing portions and the transitional provisions of the bill

The draft law envisages an exception to the five-year deadline for the formation of polling stations (polling stations of the referendum) and establishes the possibility of revising their list and borders. Including by disaggregation plots, that is, reduce the maximum number of voters in areas with 3 thousand to 1.5 thousand people. However, downsizing portions will be possible only after consultation with the election Commission of the corresponding subject of the Russian Federation and the subsequent approval of the CEC.

The law, if adopted, will come into force from the day of its official publication except for the transitional provisions. Thus, the norm of exclusion of five years of education polling stations (polling stations of the referendum) and the possibility of reviewing this list and borders for the purposes of disaggregation will take effect from 1 October 2017, after a single day of voting.

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