Experts called the main shortcomings of the project on remote voting

The draft requires conceptual refinement, as it does not provide guarantees for the openness of lists and monitoring procedures, experts point out. The CEC insists on a “framework” approach: overregulation will not allow the development of systems alt=”Experts named the main shortcomings of the project on remote voting” />

The bill on uniform rules for remote electronic voting (DEG) lays the foundation for the implementation and use of DEG systems that are non-transparent and inaccessible to inspections, is indicated in the response to the initiative, which was sent to the State Duma on January 21 (available to RBC). The review was written by a group of experts, including electoral expert Grigory Melkonyants, head of the electronic voting systems department of the Moscow State Technical University. N.E. Bauman Viktor Tolstoguzov, member of the public audit group DEG Alexander Isavnin, Petr Zhizhin, Maxim Gongalsky and others.

In mid-December, a bill on unified DEG rules was submitted to the State Duma. It is designed to unify the rules and procedures for holding elections at different levels both in Russia as a whole and in individual regions, the authors explained— deputies from “United Russia” Dmitry Lameikin and Dmitry Vyatkin. They proposed to separate online voting into a separate article in the Federal Law “On Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right to Participate in a Referendum of Citizens of the Russian Federation”. The bill allows regional election commissions (in agreement with the CEC) to decide on holding a DEG in local elections, including on their own online voting system.

Experts list the following, in their opinion, shortcomings of the bill.

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  • There are no guarantees of legal certainty and a stable voting system— the document does not describe the deadlines for submitting an application for voting, the procedure for authentication, establishing results, etc.
  • There are no guarantees for members of election commissions on the conduct and control of the DEG— the list of specialists involved in the operation of the DEG system should also be made public.
  • Surveillance system is not regulated.
  • Vulnerability of suffrage in case of failures.
  • No guarantee of control counting of votes— the procedure should be reproducible in court in case of disputes.
  • Possibility of ambiguous interpretation of the law by election commissions.

Possible amendments to the text of the bill were also discussed during public hearings on the draft in the Public Chamber on January 21. The event was attended by representatives of the State Duma, the CEC of Russia and public organizations, members of the RF OP, IT specialists.

During the discussion, the General Secretary of the Direct Democracy Party, Oleg Artamonov, also suggested adding a clause to the bill on the need for technical means of monitoring the DEG and on the access of observers to them. “Electronic voting is not a” black box “, and it is possible to observe it”, & mdash; concluded Artamonov.

Programmer Aleksey Shcherbakov noted that observers should be present during the deployment of the system to check the source code, and spoke in favor of giving observers a day before voting.

CEC position

The bill quite clearly regulates the organization and conduct of the DEG, Nikolai Bulaev, deputy head of the Central Election Commission, said during a hearing in the Public Chamber. «Introduction of amendments to the electoral legislation— this is the next step in understanding what remote e-voting should be— public, understandable, open»,— he noted.

Bulaev added that the federal and Moscow systems of the DEG have been seriously tested in the framework of the work in the elections, and both are considered “capable”. At the same time, they “cannot stop in their development”; and will change, so the law on the DEG should be of a framework nature. “A bill should solve problems, not create them,” — said Bulaev.

The September elections to the State Duma were the first with large-scale use of remote electronic voting. Residents of seven regions could vote online on two systems— federal and Moscow. Online voting, in particular, affected the elections in single-mandate constituencies in Moscow— no opposition candidate won there.

The head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov said that the party does not recognize the results of remote electronic voting (DEG) in Moscow. According to the leader of the Communist Party, six candidates from the Communist Party won, but in the morning “they entered [data] and crossed everything out.” The Moscow City Electoral Committee explained the loss of candidates in the last percentage by a large number of online voters. The candidates from the Communist Party tried to challenge the election results in court, but their claims were not satisfied.

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