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Over $300 mln allocated for presidential election — Russian election commission

Russia’s presidential election is due on March 18, 2018

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has received 17.697 bln rubles ($301.6 mln) for conducting the presidential election campaign, the commission said in a statement concerning the distribution of the allocated funds.

On December 15, Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) set the date of the election for March 18, 2018. On December 18, the relevant resolution was published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, which marked the official start of the election campaign. After that, the CEC got access to the funds allocated for the election and held a meeting to distribute them.

According to the document, a total of 17.697 bln rubles ($301.6 mln) were allocated for preparing and conducting the election. As many as 17.465 bln rubles ($297.7 mln), or 98.7% of the allocated funds, will be forwarded to lower election commissions. According to CEC Deputy Chairman Nikolai Bulayev, the funds will be transferred to the Russian regions on Tuesday.

State institutions responsible for voter registration will receive 123 mln rubles ($2.1 mln) from the CEC, while the CEC itself will have 109 mln rubles ($1.9 mln) left for exercising its powers during the election campaign. Moscow’s election commission will get 575.296 mln rubles ($9.8 mln), while St. Petersburg’s election commission will receive 309 mln rubles ($5.3 mln).

Bulayev pointed out that the Foreign Ministry will get funds for conducting voting for Russian citizens living abroad. "We are officially sending 123 mln rubles ($2.1 mln) to the Foreign Ministry," the CEC deputy chairman said, joking that some countries may now try to guess which presidential election Russia was allocating money for. "Dear colleagues, don’t worry, it concerns our country," he noted.

About 14,000 ballot processing and electronic voting systems are set to be used during the Russian presidential election scheduled for March 18, 2018, Bulayev informed TASS.

"The CEC has procured 4,750 state-of-the-art ballot processing systems, 1,100 systems will be purchased by the Moscow Region at the expense of the regional budget. Moscow will buy 1,000 systems, and the Arkhangelsk Region plans to purchase 70," he said.

In addition to that, the commission currently has 5,700 outmoded ballot processing systems. According to Bulayev, the CEC hopes that Moscow and the Arkhangelsk Region will have enough time to wrap up their bidding procedures to make sure that these systems are delivered before the presidential election.

"As a result, on March 18 our polling stations will be equipped with 13,000 ballot processing systems and 1,000 electronic voting systems that were made a long time ago but are in good working order. There will be a total of about 14,000 electronic systems, one per each polling station," he noted.

Bulayev stressed that regions have been recommended using ballot processing systems at those polling stations where at least 2,000 voters are registered. "According to our calculations, properly utilizing these technologies will create voting conditions with the help of the ballot processing systems and the electronic voting systems for at least 30 million voters," he noted.