Voices in charge: CEC ready for State Duma elections amid COVID-19

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Competition in the elections to the State Duma in 2021 will be very high, multi-day voting will continue in Russia, and online federal elections may appear by 2024. The head of the CEC Ella Pamfilova said this at the final press conference… According to her, the year was very difficult, so I want to quickly spend it. Experts share the opinion of the head of the Central Election Commission about the new tendencies; they expect that some innovations of this electoral campaign will remain in the elections next year.

And the watchman candidate

The meeting of the head of the CEC Ella Pamfilova with the media this Wednesday, December 23, was held live for the first time in many months of remote work… A few days before her, journalists were offered to take tests for COVID-19. Those who could not or did not have time participated in the online press conference. A lot of questions have accumulated for her, ranging from some resonant results of the past election campaign to the distant prospects of 2024. For example, Izvestia asked the head of the Central Election Commission for his opinion on whether it is necessary to change the legislation and introduce requirements for the professional education of candidates? Indeed, the school watchman won the election of the head of the village in the Omsk region on December 10.

There is nothing wrong with the victory of the watchman or the stoker, or the dispatcher, or someone else.… On the contrary, I consider it a plus that people want to see an alternative if they are not satisfied with the person who was previously elected and they are not satisfied with his work. I am glad that the electoral system adequately responds to the requests of our voters and provides reliable information about who won., – explained the head of the Central Election Commission.

However, according to her, there are also disadvantages to this. This is the level of responsibility of officials who, instead of working effectively, expose an uncontested spoiler… Ella Pamfilova emphasized that the civil society in Russia is already very mature and it has a request for a competent manager who stands firm on the ground, and, most importantly, is able to solve people’s problems.

This is a good lesson for those who believe that he is elected forever and that administrative resources are enough for him to win.… And no matter how he works, he will rest in this position. Will not be. And we, as an electoral system, will do everything possible so that there are fewer and fewer non-competitive elections at any level, ”she concluded.

Also Izvestia asked: in how many regions will internet voting take place in 2020 and when can it be extended to all of Russia?

– Really, after the experience gained, the challenges and difficulties that we identified, we can confidently say that electronic voting can be implemented in a federal company in 2024, – Ella Pamfilova answered.

According to her, if we talk about 2021, then, taking into account the possibilities and readiness of the regions, it can take place only in five to seven subjects… At the same time, the head of the CEC did not rule out that closer to the elections themselves, these figures may change. Among the problems that prevent the spread of digital technologies more widely are the security and vulnerability of the system, as well as low public confidence.

Also, journalists were interested in how the elections will be held next year, if the threat of COVID-19 persists and whether there will be a multi-day voting in Russia

“ I believe that even if there is no pandemic, if there is such a request from society (multi-day voting), it can take root, ” she said, noting that she would discuss with the Minister of Education in the near future ways to separate the educational process and the election procedure, which mostly take place in schools.

At the same time, Ella Pamfilova is sure that even if the pandemic to the federal election campaign persists, it will not be able to interfere – during this time, the CEC has gained extensive experience in overcoming the difficulties associated with COVID-19… However, the head of the CEC refrained from accurate forecasts related to the development of the situation with the pandemic in 2021.

But what will be for sure, according to her, is very high competition in the elections to the State Duma, since 16 parties will be able to take part in them.… At the end of the press conference, Ella Pamfilova joked, wishing the journalists to have a good outgoing year.

– Now in social networks there is an opinion that this year we will not meet, but see off the year. So I must thank him so that the next one is no worse than this one. And hope that he will be better, – she said.

No rejection

Political strategists agree with Ella Pamfilova’s forecasts. For example, Head of the Political Expert Group Konstantin Kalachev believes that multi-day voting in 2021 will be in demand

– It did not cause rejection among voters. On the contrary, many found it convenient. Although I would nevertheless listen to the opinion of the parliamentary opposition in this matter, which rightly points out the problems of observation and the possibility of nightly manipulations with ballots, the expert told Izvestia.

According to him, in general, the rules for holding elections will remain the same, but post-like innovations cannot be avoided.

Director of the Institute for Applied Political Studies Grigory Dobromelov believes that the federal campaign for the elections to the State Duma will be difficult and non-standard

– Of course, everyone wants COVID-19 to end: there was no reason for a hard lockdown and anti-epidemic measures. However, I think that a number of innovations in the electoral system this year will remain. Firstly, multi-day voting is convenient, and secondly, I am sure that the CEC will consider the issue of transferring polling stations from schools, – the expert explained to Izvestia.

According to him, there are more convenient platforms for voting, for example, the MFC… The expert also believes that Internet voting will take place in Russia only in pilot mode in a few regions, as there are still questions about its organization.

The head of APEC Dmitry Orlov believes that epidemic restrictions are likely to affect the organization of party events. At the same time, the congresses at which candidates for the State Duma will be nominated will be held in an offline format.… In his opinion, the likelihood of a multi-day voting in the elections to the State Duma is significant, but this format cannot be considered already defined or guaranteed.

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