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In contrast to such Russian regions where the election observers' movement is strong (in particular: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Republic of Tatarstan, Krasnodar Krai and Nizhny Novgorod, Sverdlovsk and Moscow oblasts), the true results of the election in Belgorod Oblast have been mystery for many years. In this region, control over the course of the election is conducted to a small extent. This happens because of the weakness of local civil society, which did not develop strong opposition that could resist the authorities as well as did not encourage independent observation movements.
Electoral analysts such as Sergey Shpilkin have been proving for many years that the results in Belgorod Oblast election are seriously falsified (see Sergey Shpilkin's diagram on the presidential election 2018 in Belgorod Oblast). However, there was a lack of undeniable, comprehensible evidence that would confirm this thesis.
In order to analyze the results of the presidential election in Belgorod Oblast in 2018, the participants of the "Observers in Action" project observed the voting day in 16 electoral commissions in the Alexeyevsky District (PECs №2, №11, №46 and №51), Borisovsky District (PEC №330), Valuysky District (PECs №365 and №398), Veydelevsky District (PECs №413 and №417), Volokonovsky District (PEC №448), Grayvoronsky District (PECs №483 and №489), Krasnoyaruzhsky District (PEC №765), Rovensky Distric (PEC №919), and Shebekinsky District (PECs №1112 and №1152).
We focused in particular on the search for the difference between the official turn-out and the number of people who actually gave their votes at the polling station. In addition, we were looking for two electoral irregularities: the ballot stuffing and multiple votes. However, our goal did not include the impact of election fraud on the results of individual candidates in the election of the President of Russia.
Our analysis showed that the election results in the Belgorod Oblast were falsified in almost half of the polling stations that we observed in a large part of the districts. Our observations demonstrate that the falsifications in the Belgorod Oblastonly partly depend on the place where the vote took place. We did not notice the dependence of the number of election irregularities by comparing voting between the countryside and the city - both in small and large localities there were fair and unfair commissions. At the same time, it should be noted that in the Belgorod Oblast there are districts in which we did not observe any electoral irregularities. It distinguishes this region from other regions of Russia that we observe.
The most common type of electoral fraud was the so-called rewriting of protocols (editing the numbers in electoral protocols), which we observed in 7 out of 16 electoral commissions analysed (it happened in PECs №2, №11, №46, №330, №398, №483 and №489). Far less popular way of falsification was ballot stuffing, which we saw in 2 the electoral commissions (PECs №2 and №11). This kind of falsification was massive only in one electoral commission, where it happened 20 times. An equally rare method of election falsification was multiple voting, which we recorded in two observed PECs (PECs 2 and №365). As in the case of ballot stuffing, its mass character was observed only in one election commission, were we notices 20 cases of such fraud.
In total, in all election commissions observed by us in the region, we recorded the theft of 2175 votes, as well as 22 cases of ballot stuffing and 24 cases of multiple voting. Thus, the scale of electoral fraud in Belgorod Oblast allows us to state that this region was the fairest of the four Russian regions we observed. Here we observed the smallest scale of irregularities.
polling stations observed
hours of monitoring of the recordings from the polling stations
PECs with observed falsifications
votes found missing from the official data turnout
observed cases of ballot stuffing
observed cases of multiple voting
The list of electoral commissions with the highest number of irregularities:
The number of falsified votes: In 2 commissions with unprecedented cases of massive falsifications the official protocols included 739 (commission №11) and 706 (commission №2) votes more than the actual number of voters.
To what extent the turnout in the polling station was overstated? In 2 unprecedented PECs in this respect, the voter turnout in PECs was overestimated by 34% (PEC №2) and 29% (PEC № 11).
The number of observed facts of ballot-stuffing. In one PEC where these falsifications took place at the largest scale (PEC №2), we noticed 20 such cases.
The number of observed facts of multiple voting. In one PEC where these falsifications took place at the largest scale, we observed 20 (PEC №2) cases of multiple voting.