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Voting in parliamentary elections closes in Russia

Election commissions are beginning to process ballots and count votes

KALININGRAD, September 19. /TASS/. Voting in the State Duma (lower house) elections has closed across Russia and election commissions are beginning to count ballots.

Polling stations were open from 08:00 am to 08:00 pm on Sunday, depending on the time zone. Russia's westernmost region of Kaliningrad was the last to close its polling stations at 09:00 pm Moscow time. Given that voting in the Kamchatka and Chukotka regions kicked off at 11:00 pm Moscow time on September 16, the voting process lasted nearly four days. Meanwhile, Russians residing abroad still have a chance to cast their ballots as polling stations at Russia's diplomatic missions in North and South America will be the last to close, when vote count will already be well underway in Russia.

This year, the voting process for the first time spanned across three days - September 17-19 - due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC), voter turnout was 45.15% as of 06:00 pm on Sunday. Seven regions of the country, including Moscow, used the remote electronic voting technology. About 2.6 mln people registered to vote online. According to the election commission responsible for online voting, the total online voter turnout in six Russian regions was 93.21% and stood at 96.5% in Moscow.

According to the CEC, Russian and foreign experts, no serious irregularities took place during the vote. CEC chief Ella Pamfilova pointed out that the number of irregularities had significantly declined compared to previous elections. Such irregularities are impossible to hide, she said.

The CEC announced that as of 05:30 pm Moscow time on Sunday, a total of 8,539 ballots at 54 polling stations in 17 Russian regions had been declared invalid. Pamfilova noted that only 12 cases of ballot stuffing had been confirmed in eight Russian regions.

In addition to the State Duma elections, voters cast their ballots for the heads of nine Russian regions and members of 39 regional parliaments.