State Duma accepted in the first reading, a draft law establishing uniform rules for conducting remote electronic voting (DEG). According to it, the DEG will be held exclusively using the Elections system or other information systems certified and meeting the requirements of the CEC.
If the bill is passed, the CEC will establish requirements for systems for online voting. “This provides for the mandatory passage of procedures for identification, authentication and confirmation of identity, as well as anonymization of the results of the expression of will, their encryption during voting and decryption after it is completed,” the explanatory note to the document says.
Dmitry Nesterov, coordinator of the Golos movement, explained in a conversation with The Insider that in its current form, the bill will not make significant changes to the current electoral legislation and will not solve the issues of guaranteeing voting rights.
“In the form in which the bill is presented now, it will fundamentally change nothing. This version does not address any of the real issues related to the protection of the rights of electoral participants and the credibility of DEG systems. So far, only a formal movement towards the legal legitimization of these systems in the electoral process is visible. This draft law proposes to fix who decides on electronic voting, but nothing specific is said about the principles and mechanisms of the systems themselves that would protect the electoral rights of participants in the electoral process. Those who introduced this version of the bill probably did not have the task of making the DEG systems more transparent and under the control of the participants in the elections. The very new form of voting via the Internet is actually available to the voter even now, but it does not solve the problem of guaranteeing real voting rights – so that the vote is correctly received and counted. These stages in the DEG are still in the gray zone: they are not completely transparent and are carried out by people who are not related to the electoral system. There are currently no mechanisms and procedures for external control over their activities, as well as over the integrity of voting and tabulation in DEG systems. By the second reading, the situation may change; judging by the discussion in the State Duma, some of the factions are going to make amendments that could potentially make the bill more meaningful,” Nesterov emphasized.
At last year’s elections 1,943,590 ballots for electronic voting were issued to the State Duma, according to official data. At the same time, 2,021,969 votes were cast, that is, approximately 78,000 people voted at least twice. Also reported about bots participating in electronic voting.