Russian Lawmakers Approve Bill On Multiday Voting In Elections


MOSCOW -- The lower chamber of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, has approved the final reading of a bill that would allow voting over as many as three days during elections.

In the vote on July 21, 344 lawmakers supported the legislation while 51 were against.

According to the bill, the decision on whether to hold a multiday voting procedure will be made by electoral officials.

Human rights organizations in Russia have harshly criticized the bill on multiday voting, saying that it would give power holders more control over elections and more opportunities to rig their results.

Multiday voting was used for the first time between June 25 and July 1 in a national vote on constitutional amendments that among other things allowed President Vladimir Putin the possibility to seek further presidential terms after his current term expires in 2024.

After the vote, the chairwoman of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said in a discussion with Putin that the possibility of a multiday voting system in elections in general was under discussion, stressing that citizens "liked" the new system.

The bill must be approved by parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, before Putin could sign it into law.

If the bill is endorsed by the president, upcoming general elections in September may be held under the new format.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax