Opposition figures in Moscow cry foul after city's election monitors find 'no trace of tampering' in parliamentary vote count

Opposition figures in Moscow cry foul after city's election monitors find 'no trace of tampering' in parliamentary vote count

Moscow's Election Monitoring Public Committee found no trace of any "hacking and stuffing" after a recheck of the city's e-voting results, initiated after a series of complaints from opposition figures over alleged irregularities.

That's according to Alexey Venediktov, the journalist who heads the group. He also is the head of liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy and has long been an ally of opposition figures. Others have accused him of playing both sides and colluding with the Kremlin. In the past, he has been a favorite broadcaster of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny and his team.

"The Election Monitoring Public Committee found no traces of tampering or stuffing in electronic voting," Venediktov wrote on his Telegram channel on Thursday. "The technical working group will continue to analyze primary data and develop the system in terms of transparency and openness."

The veteran journalist has been an evangelist for online voting and believes it is a significant step forward for the future of Russian democracy. Russia introduced electronic voting this year in nine of its 85 regions, but the vast majority of complaints were registered over its use in the capital.

Venediktov posted a graph from Moscow's electoral district 198, where independent candidate Anastasia Bryukhanova was ahead right until the end, before she was overtaken by Galina Khovanskaya, a politician from the Fair Russia party. Bryukhanova wasn't convinced, and shortly after, posted a rebuttal on her own channel, claiming that she spotted anomalies in the graph.

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FILE PHOTO. The election monitoring center’s head, Ekho Moskvy Radio editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov and Central Election Commission chief Ella Pamfilova are pictured at the Public Election Monitoring Centre during the 2021 Russian parliamentary election, in Moscow, Russia. September 19, 2021
Moscow to conduct recount of electronic voting after opposition accuses authorities of rigging weekend parliamentary election

Later on Thursday, following the result of the committee's check, almost 1,000 members of Moscow election commissions, as well as election observers, signed an open letter to Venediktov, asking him to completely cancel the results of the electronic voting, calling it "an instrument of fraud."

The election took place on September 17-19, when Russian citizens went to the polls to choose from 14 parties and other independent candidates vying for 450 seats in the country's parliament.

The recount was initiated after the country's Communist Party announced that it would refuse to recognize the electronic votes cast in Moscow, alleging falsifications. The party's suspicions were raised after the results in certain constituencies changed dramatically after electronic ballots were counted, sometimes overwhelmingly flipping the outcome in favor of the United Russia candidate, the party that supports President Vladimir Putin.

On Wednesday, the Communists announced that they would be meeting in the center of Moscow on Saturday to protest the results of electronic voting.

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