Russian electoral official questions legality of candid filming at polls

MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) — Secretary of Russia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC), Nikolai Konkin had called into question the legality of filming the procedures at polling stations by candid camera as a technique for registering encroachments on the rules of voting.

Earlier, Russian media carried reports quoting the Moscow branch of the Just Russia party, which said its members would watch the observance of legislation on the day of voting with the aid of portable technological devises, like micro video cameras.

“I doubt the legality of materials produced with the aid of candid cameras,” Konkin said.

He indicated that the CEC accepts all the documents but if footage of this sort comes “then I doubt it will contain a note that it has been filmed by a candid camera.”

Along with this, Konkin voiced dissatisfaction with the absence of any rules or regulations for the use of covert cameras at polling stations. In the light of it, he believes it would be highly desirable for the CEC to issue an appropriate resolution.

He noted the expanding practice of using candid cameras at the polls but said they should be used in a way that “would ensure the confidentiality of voting and, above all, the voters’ privacy, which means that filming of people’s faces by close-up is inadmissible.

Chairman of Just Russia Party, Sergei Mironov, said at a meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and leaders of seven political parties August 29 that there might be sense in installing web cameras at all the polling stations in the run-up to the December 4 parliamentary election.

Konkin also voiced strong objections to the proposals to revert to the ‘Against all Candidates’ option in the ballots.

He said it when a reporter asked him to comment on the proposal made by Alexander Ivanchenko, the director of the CEC’s Centre for Training in Electoral Technologies.

Ivanchenko has chaired the CEC in the past.

Konkin said he is not familiar with Ivanchenko’s proposals in detail, yet he believes that a return of the option to the ballots might be counter-productive.

“Russia’s citizens should really elect their state authorities while negative voting isn’t very helpful in terms of creating a functional parliament,” he said.


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