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Chapter IV. Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

Article 21. System and Status of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

Article 22. Status and Procedure for Formation of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation

Article 23. Formation and Term of Powers of Election Commissions of Subjects of Russian Federation, District, Territorial and Precinct Election Commissions, Territorial and Precinct Commissions for Referendum

Article 24. Status of Members of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

Article 25. Dissolution of Election Commission, Referendum Commission

Article 26. Openness of the Activity of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

Article 27. Organization of Activities of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions


Article 21. System and Status of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

1. The following election commissions shall act in the Russian Federation:

    - the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation;

    - election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation;

    - district election commissions. The district election commissions shall be formed in cases stipulated in the federal constitutional laws, federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation for elections in single-mandate and multi-mandate electoral districts;

    - territorial (rayon, city, etc.) election commissions. Within the boundaries of one administrative territorial unit with a large number of voters several territorial election commissions may be formed; in cases provided by federal constitutional laws, federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation territorial election commissions shall act as election commissions of municipal units;

    - precinct election commissions.

2. In holding relevant referenda the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall act in a capacity of commissions for referendum. Other election commissions may act as referendum commission upon decision of the relevant body of state power, bodies of local self-government in charge of the formation of election commissions that shall be made in the procedure stipulated by this Federal Law.

3. Election commissions, referendum commissions in the Russian Federation shall guarantee implementation and protection of electoral rights of citizens and the right to participate in a referendum, prepare for and administer elections and referenda in the Russian Federation.

4. Election commissions, referendum commissions shall, within the scope of their competence, consider the statements which they receive in the course of the election campaign or preparation for a referendum, which concern violations of this Federal Law, the federal constitutional laws, other federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, charters of municipal units as regards preparation and conduct of the elections, referendum, check these statements and give written answers to persons who submitted them within five days but not later than the day preceding voting day or, on voting day or the next day, immediately. If the facts cited in the statements require additional investigation, resolutions on such statements shall be taken within ten days. Election commissions, referendum commissions may submit requests to law enforcement bodies for carrying out the required investigation and putting an end to violations of this Federal Law, the federal constitutional laws, other federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, charters of municipal units as regards the preparation and conduct of the elections, a referendum. The law enforcement bodies shall take measures to put an end to the violations within a ten-day period but not later than a day preceding voting day and, on voting day or the next day, immediately. If the facts cited in the statement require additional investigation the said measures shall be taken within a ten-day period.

5. Election commissions, referendum commissions shall keep voters, referendum participants informed about the time and rules for carrying out electoral actions, actions connected with the preparation and conduct of a referendum, about the progress of the election campaign, the preparation and conduct of a referendum, about candidates, registered candidates.

6. Powers and the procedure for activities of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be set by this Federal Law, federal constitutional laws and other federal laws.

7. Powers and the procedure for activities of other election commissions, referendum commissions during the preparation and administration of elections to the federal bodies of state power and the referenda of the Russian Federation shall be set forth by this Federal Law, federal constitutional laws, and other federal laws and those for the preparation and administration of elections of the bodies of state power of Subjects of the Russian Federation and bodies of local self-government, and referenda in Subjects of the Russian Federation and local referenda shall be set forth by this Federal Law, the constitutions, charters, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, and charters of municipal units.

8. The combination of powers in respect to administration of elections and referenda of various levels by the election commission, referendum commission shall be allowed only upon decision of a higher (subject to the level of the election or referendum) election commission, referendum commission made on the basis of the application of the subordinate election commission, referendum commission with agreement of the relevant bodies of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation, bodies of local self-government.

9. Decisions of a higher (subject to the level of the election or referendum) election commission, referendum commission shall be binding upon the subordinate election commissions, commissions for referendum.

10. Decisions of election commissions, referendum commissions in conflict with federal constitutional laws, federal laws or laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, or made by the election commission, referendum commission in excess of the established powers shall be revoked by a higher election commission, referendum commission (subject to the level of the election or referendum) or overruled by Court. In this case, a higher election commission, referendum commission shall be entitled to make a decision regarding the subject matter.

11. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall be state bodies which prepare and administer elections and referenda in the Russian Federation in accordance with their competence defined by this Federal law, federal constitutional laws, other federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation.

12. Election commissions, referendum commissions within the limits of their powers shall be independent of the state bodies and bodies of local self-government.

13. Decisions of election commissions, referendum commissions made within their competence set forth by this Federal Law, federal constitutional laws and other federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall be binding upon executive bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, candidates, registered candidates, electoral associations, electoral blocs, public associations, establishments, organizations, officials, voters and referendum participants.

14. Activities of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be funded from the federal budget; activities of election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall be funded from the federal budget and the budgets of Subjects of the Russian Federation; activities of territorial election commissions that is acting on a permanent basis - from local budgets and in the cases stipulated by federal law and laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation from federal budget or the budget of Subjects of the Russian Federation respectively.

15. Every year, the Central Election Commission shall submit a report on the expenditure of the funds allocated from the federal budget for its activity and the conduct of elections in accordance with a procedure and format established by federal laws. Every year, the Election Commission of s Subject of the Russian Federation shall submit a report on the expenditure of the funds allocated from the budget of the Subject of the Russian Federation for its activity and the conduct of elections in accordance with a procedure and format established by federal laws, lows of the Subject of the Russian Federation.

16. State bodies, bodies of local self-government, establishments, organizations, enterprises with state share and their officials shall render assistance to election commissions, referendum commissions in the implementation of their powers providing required premises, transport, communications means, technical equipment, data and materials, and respond to applications of election commissions, referendum commissions within the time frame set forth by federal constitutional laws, federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation; the mass media listed in Clause 1 of Article 39 shall provide them with an opportunity to display printed information of election commissions, referendum commissions in the procedure set forth by this Federal Law, federal constitutional laws, federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation. Public associations, enterprises, institutions, organizations, mass media which are not mentioned in Clause 1 of Article 39 of this Federal Law as well as their officials shall provide necessary information and materials to election commissions, referendum commissions and respond to their requests within time periods established by federal laws and laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation.

As amended 3/30/99.

Article 22. Status and Procedure for Formation of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation

1. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall act on a permanent basis and be a legal entity. The term of powers of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be 4 years.

2. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall consist of fifteen members. Five members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be appointed by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation from the candidatures proposed by the factions in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, other associations of the deputies and also by deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Each association of deputies in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation may appoint not more than one representative. Five members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be appointed by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation from among candidates nominated by the legislative (representative) and executive bodies of state power of Subjects of Russian Federation. Five members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be appointed by the President of the Russian Federation.

3. Members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall have a university law education or a law degree.

4. Members of the Central Election Commission shall organize work within the concrete areas of activity of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation defined by the Regulations of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation and shall bear responsibility for the results of work in the said areas.

5. Members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall elect Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation and Secretary of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation from among themselves by secret ballot.

6. Acting within the scope of its competence the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall direct election commissions' activity related to elections to the federal bodies of state power and to administering of referenda of the Russian Federation.

7. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation together with the election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall:

    - exercise control over adherence to electoral rights of citizens and the right of citizens to participate in referendum;

    - develop and approve standards for equipment required to ensure performance of election commissions and exercise control over adherence thereto;

    - ensure implementation of federal special purpose programs related to organization and administration of elections and referenda, development of electoral system of Russian Federation, voter education and training programs for election officials and other election administrators;

    - undertake measures to organize a system of elections and referenda funding, uniform procedure for allocation of air time to registered candidates, electoral associations, electoral blocs for the purposes of election campaigning, determination of vote returns, results of elections and referenda in Russian Federation and procedure for publishing thereof;

    - distribute funds allocated from the federal budget to provide financial support to the preparation and administration of elections and referenda and exercise control over proper use thereof;

    - render legal, training, organizational and technical assistance to election commissions, referendum commissions;

    - reviews reports of federal bodies of executive power, executive bodies of Subjects of the Russian Federation and bodies of local self-government on issues related to preparation and administering of elections and referendum;

    - establish production requirements (including degrees of protection) for ballots used for voting in elections and referenda, the lists of voters, referendum participants and other election documents as well as documents related to the preparation and holding of a referendum;

    - adjudicate grievances (statements) over decisions and actions (inaction) of election commission of a lower level and take motivated decisions;

    - exercise other powers in accordance with this Federal law, federal constitutional laws, other federal laws.

8. The Central Election Commission shall, within the limits of the funds allocated to it from the federal budget, determine the amount of labor remuneration to be paid and the manner of its payment to employees of institutions and organizations established to support its activity.

9. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation together with federal bodies of state power, election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation, executive bodies of state power of Subjects of the Russian Federation and bodies of local self-government shall arrange and implement the state system of voter registration and takes part in registration.

10. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be entitled - within the limits of its competence - to issue instructions regarding the uniform application of this Federal Law, and if stipulated by federal constitutional laws, federal laws, - explanations and instructions regarding uniform application of relevant federal constitutional laws and federal laws.

11. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall be entitled to render conclusions regarding compliance of the laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation with this Federal Law.

12. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation shall have its official bulletin.

As amended 3/30/99.

Article 23. Formation and Term of Powers of Election Commissions of Subjects of Russian Federation, District, Territorial and Precinct Election Commissions, Territorial and Precinct Commissions for Referendum

1. Election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation as well as district election commissions for elections to federal bodies of state power shall be formed by the legislative (representative) and executive power of Subjects of the Russian Federation on the basis of proposals made by public associations, elective bodies of local self-government, election commission of Subject of the Russian Federation or district election commission of a previous convocation respectively. In this case, state officials may not constitute more than 1/3 of the total number of election commission members. Half of the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation, district election commission for elections of the bodies of state power shall be appointed by the legislative (representative) body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation, the other half shall be appointed by the executive body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation. Both the legislative (representative) and the executive body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation shall appoint no less than one-third of members of election commission appointed by this body on the basis of proposals coming from each electoral association, electoral bloc which have factions in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and also on the basis of proposals coming from electoral associations, electoral blocs which have factions in the legislative (representative) body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation. In this case, no more than one representative of each electoral association, electoral bloc shall be appointed to the election commission.

2. Territorial election commissions, territorial referendum commissions and district election commissions for elections to the bodies of state power of Subjects of Russian Federation and bodies of local self-government shall be formed on the basis of proposals made by public associations, meetings of voters at the places of their residence, work, service, study, or by election commissions of a previous convocations and precinct election commissions, referendum commission on the basis of proposals made by electoral associations, electoral blocs, public associations, meetings of voters at the places of their residence, work, service, study by representative body (representative bodies) of local self-government. The representative body (representative bodies) of local self-government shall appoint no less than one-third of the members of the territorial, precinct election commission, referendum commission and the district election commissions for elections to bodies of state power of Subjects of Russian Federation and bodies of local self-government on the basis of proposals coming from each electoral association, electoral bloc which have factions in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and also on the basis of proposals coming from electoral associations, electoral blocs which have factions in the legislative (representative) body of state power of Subject of Russian Federation and in the representative body (representative bodies) of local self-government. In this case, no more than one representative from each electoral association, electoral bloc shall be appointed.

3. In Subjects of the Russian Federation where the system of bodies of state power provides for establishment of territorial bodies of state power of raions and other administrative-territorial units territorial election commissions, referendum commissions of the appropriate level shall be formed by representative and executive bodies of state power as provided in Clause 1 of this Article.

4. In the event of early termination of powers of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the legislative (representative) body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation or body of self-government the right to make proposals concerning composition of the election commission, referendum commission shall be retained by electoral associations, electoral blocs which had deputy factions in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the legislative (representative) body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation, the body of local self-government of the last convocation.

5. If the bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government duly authorized by this Federal Law fail to appoint the members or some members of a district, territorial, precinct election commission, referendum commission within the period established by the federal constitutional law, a federal law, law of a Subject of the Russian Federation, charter of a municipal unit or if there is no appropriate body of state power or a body of local self-government in the given territory, the members or some members of the election commission, referendum commission shall be appointed by the higher election commission, referendum commission in compliance with the requirements of this Federal Law, the federal constitutional law, a federal law, law of a Subject of the Russian Federation, charter of the municipal unit.

6. If, in accordance with a law of a Subject of the Russian Federation or an act of body of local self-government the territorial election commission acts on a permanent basis it shall also act as a territorial referendum commission.

7. Precinct election commissions, referendum commissions shall be formed no later than three days after formation of an electoral precinct, referendum precinct.

8. In order to ensure the rights of citizens of the Russian Federation to elect and be elected to the bodies of local self-government federal laws may set provisional norms regulating formation of election commissions for elections of bodies of local self-government; this shall come into force unless other provisions are set by laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation.

9. State officials and employees acting as municipal officials in bodies of local self-government shall not constitute more than 1/3 of the total number of members of territorial or precinct election commission, territorial or precinct commission for elections to bodies of state power of Subjects of the Russian Federation, bodies of local self-government, a territorial or precinct referendum commission.

10. Election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall act on a permanent basis and be legal entities. The term of powers of election commissions of Subjects of the Russian Federation shall be set by laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, however, it may not exceed 5 years and be less than the term of powers of the legislative (representative) body of state power of the relevant Subject of the Russian Federation and, if the constitution, charter, law of a Subject of the Russian Federation does not specify the term of powers of the legislative (representative) body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation, less than term of powers of an elected deputy of the said body.

11. The term of powers of district election commissions for elections to federal bodies of state power shall be equal to the term of powers of that body.

12. The term of powers of territorial election commissions, referendum commissions shall be set by federal constitutional laws, federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, the charters of municipal units; the term of powers of district election commissions for elections to the bodies of state power of Subjects of the Russian Federation, bodies of local self-government, by-laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation. A law of a Subject of the Russian Federation, the charter of a municipal unit may provide that the territorial election commission should act on a permanent basis. In this case, the term of powers of the territorial election commission shall not be less than the term of powers of the representative body of local self-government, the election to which the territorial election commission prepares and administers and, if the law of a Subject of the Russian Federation, the charter of a municipal unit does not specify the term of powers of the representative body of local self-government, less than term of powers of an elected deputy of the said body.

13. The term of powers of a precinct election commission, referendum commission shall expire 10 days after the official publication of the results of the elections, referendum if the higher election commission has not received any complaints and protests about actions (inaction) of the given election commission, referendum commission, as a result of which the voting and vote counting procedure was violated and if no court case is pending concerning the same. If the voting returns are contested or challenged, the powers of precinct election commission shall expire after a final decision has been taken on the substance of the complaint, protest by the higher commission or the court.

14. An election commission acting on a permanent basis shall hold its first meeting no later than on the 15th day after adoption of the decision concerning appointment of its members. In this case, no less than two-thirds of members of the election commission must be already appointed to the election commission. The powers of the old election commission shall expire from the day of the first meeting of the new election commission.

As amended 3/30/99.

Article 24. Status of Members of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

1. Deputies of the legislative (representative) bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, elective officials of the bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, judges, candidates, registered candidates, their agents, authorized representatives and agents of initiative groups of voters, electoral associations, electoral blocs, that nominated candidates, as well as initiative groups for the referendum, non-voting members of election commissions, referendum commissions, spouses and close relatives of candidates, registered candidates or direct subordinates of candidates, registered candidates may not be voting members of election commissions, referendum commissions.

2. In this Federal Law the direct subordination shall mean the official relationship between the superior and the subordinate when the former has powers and administrative control over the other, i.e. he/she is entitled to hire and terminate the subordinate or to issue binding orders and instructions, promote and impose disciplinary penalties within the limits of his/her official powers.

3. A voting member of election commission, referendum commission may not be voting member of a higher or subordinate election commission, referendum commission, subject to the level of the election, referendum.

4. The term of powers of voting members of election commissions, referendum commissions shall expire together with the term of powers of such election commissions, commissions for referendum.

5. A voting member of election commission, referendum commission may be removed before the expiration of his/her term of powers upon decision of the body that appointed him/her under the following circumstances:

    - if a member of election commission, referendum commission submitted a written application on his/her resignation;

    - when the Russian citizenship of a member of election commission, referendum commission is forfeited;

    - when a court indictment in respect of the member of election commission, referendum commission has come into legal force;

    - when a member of election commission, referendum commission is recognized incapable, restricted in capability, missing or dead by a decision of a court of law that has come into legal force;

    - death of a member of the election commission, referendum commission;

    - when, on the basis of a statement of the appropriate election commission, referendum commission, a court decision which came into legal force a member of the election commission, referendum commission has been found to regularly fail in the performance of his/her duties;

    - on the grounds stipulated by Clause 1 of this Article.

6. The powers of a voting member of the election commission, referendum commission shall also be terminated when the election commission is dissolved in accordance with Article 25 of this Federal Law.

7. The body which appointed a member of the election commission, referendum commission shall appoint a new member of the election commission, referendum commission in place of the one who was removed for the aforementioned reasons no later than one month, and during relevant election, referendum not later than ten days from the date of his/her removal in accordance with the requirements of Clause 2 of Article 22, Clauses 1 and 2 of Article 23 of this Federal Law. If the duly authorized body fails to meet this requirement, a new member of the election commission, referendum commission shall be appointed by the higher election commission, referendum commission in compliance with the requirements established by this Federal Law.

8. The Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation, other election commission acting on a permanent basis shall hold the office in the commission on a permanent basis. As a rule, the chairman of the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation must have a higher legal education or hold a degree in law.

9. A voting member of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation, other election commission acting on a permanent basis may occupy an office in the commission on a permanent basis.

10. A voting member of election commission who holds an office on a permanent basis may not hold other offices, stay at state or municipal service, run entrepreneurial or other commercial activities with the exception of lecturing, scientific and other creative activities.

11. The state shall take the necessary measures to remunerate and provide social security for members who hold an office in the commission on a permanent basis or act on a permanent basis and for administrative employees of the said commissions. The amount and kinds of monetary remuneration for members of election commissions who hold an office in the commission on a permanent basis or act on a permanent basis shall be established by federal laws, laws and other normative legal acts of Subjects of Russian Federation and shall not be less than the amount and kinds of monetary remuneration of persons holding state offices of Class A in the federal body of state power, legislative (representative) body of state power of a Subject of the Russian Federation or the body of executive power of a Subject of Russian Federation, respectively, or persons holding municipal offices in a body of local self-government.

12. Voting members of an election commission who were released from the main place of work for the period of the preparation and holding of elections, referendum shall be paid an average salary at the main place of work. Additional remuneration may be paid to voting members of election commission who were released from the main place of work for the period of the preparation and holding of elections, referendum from the funds allocated for the holding of the elections, referendum, the amount of such remuneration and the manner of its payment to be established by the election commission, referendum commission charged by law with directing the activity of lower election commissions, referendum commissions for the preparation and holding of the appropriate elections, referendum. The amount of labor remuneration of voting members of election commissions, referendum commissions and the manner of its payment from the funds allocated from the federal budget shall be established by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation subject to Russian Federation law.

13. During the period of the preparation and holding of elections, a voting referendum members of election commissions, referendum commissions shall not be subject to legal prosecution without the consent of the Attorney General of a Subject of the Russian Federation and members of the Central Election Commission shall not be subject to criminal prosecution or administrative penalties imposed by a court without the consent of the Attorney General of the Russian Federation.

14. A voting member of election commission, referendum commission relieved for the period of preparation and administration of the election from his/her major office shall have the average salaries at his/her main office.

15. Upon registration of a candidate (list of candidates) with the relevant election commission, the candidate, electoral association (electoral bloc), that nominated the list of candidates shall be entitled to appoint one non-voting commission member to the election commission that registered the candidate (list of candidates) and to the subordinate election commissions. Each electoral association, electoral bloc which nominated a registered candidate may also appoint one non-voting member to the election commission charged by the federal constitutional law, a federal law, law of a Subject of the Russian Federation with directing the activity of the lower election commissions in the preparation and conduct of the appropriate elections.

16. During a referendum, the initiative group for the referendum and electoral associations, electoral blocs represented, subject to the level of the referendum, either in the representative body of state power, or in the representative body of local self-government or a representative body of a higher level shall be entitled to appoint one non-voting member of referendum commission to the relevant and subordinate referendum commissions.

17. Non-voting members of the commission shall have the same rights as voting members in regard of the issues relating to the preparation and holding of elections, a referendum, with the exception of the right to hand out ballots for voting in elections and referendum, participate in sorting out and counting the ballots, drawing up a protocol of voting returns, election results, participate in the voting on matters which are within the competence of the given election commission, referendum commission, sign resolutions of the election commission, referendum commission.

18. A voting and non-voting member of election commission, referendum commission:

    - shall be informed about sessions of the relevant election commission, referendum commission in advance;

    - shall be entitled to speak at sessions of the election commission, commission for referendum, make proposals in respect of issues within the competence of the relevant election commission, referendum commission and demand voting thereon;

    - shall be entitled to ask participants of the sessions questions under the agenda and receive reasonable answers to them;

    - shall be entitled to examine any documents and materials (including lists of voters, referendum participants, ballots for voting in elections and a referendum) and, among other things, documents and materials on magnetic carriers of the given and lower election commissions, referendum commissions, receive copies of these documents and materials (with the exception of lists of voters, referendum participants, ballots for voting in elections and a referendum) and request that these copies be certified;

    - shall be entitled to appeal actions (inaction) of the election commission, referendum commission in a corresponding higher commission or in a court.

19. Powers of non-voting members of election commissions shall last till the end of the registration of the candidates (lists of candidates) at the successive election to the same body or to the same office, if the candidates who appointed them, or the lists of candidates nominated by the electoral associations or electoral blocs that appointed them were elected. Powers of other non-voting members of election commission, referendum commission shall terminate 30 days after the official publication of the election outcome with regard to all votings conducted in the relevant territory within the framework of the election campaign, or 10 days after the official publication of the referendum results.

20. During the period of his/her powers a non-voting member of election commission, referendum commission shall enjoy the rights provided by this Article in regard of the preparation and holding.

21. The powers of a non-voting member of election commission, referendum commission may be terminated by the decision of a person or a body that have appointed the given member of an election commission, referendum commission and transferred to another person.

As amended 3/30/99.

Article 25. Dissolution of Election Commission, Referendum Commission

1. If the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation, a district, territorial, precinct election commission, referendum commission infringes upon the electoral rights of citizens, the right of citizens to participate in a referendum, the said infringement resulting in the fact that the voting returns in the corresponding territory or the results of the elections, referendum were declared null and void by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation in accordance with a procedure established by this Federal law (among other things, on the basis of a court decision), federal constitutional laws, other federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation, the said election commission, referendum commission may be disbanded by a court of the appropriate jurisdiction stipulated by Clause 2 of Article 63 of this Federal Law.

2. An application asking for dissolution of the election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation may be filed with a court by a group numbering no less than one-third of the total number of members of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation or of deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation or no less than one-third of the total number of deputies of the legislative (representative) body of the given Subject of the Russian Federation, or by a group of deputies of any elective chamber of the aforementioned body numbering no less than one-third of the total number of deputies of this chamber, and also by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.

3. An application asking for dissolution of a district, territorial, precinct election commission may be filed with a court by a group of deputies numbering no less than one-third of the total number of deputies of the legislative (representative) body of the given Subject of the Russian Federation, or by a group of deputies of any elective chamber of the aforementioned body numbering no less than one-third of the total number of deputies of this chamber, or by a group of deputies of the appropriate representative body of local self-government numbering no less than one-third of the total number of deputies of this body and also by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.

4. An application for dissolution of a commission shall be accepted for consideration immediately and shall be acted upon no later than 14 days upon its acceptance. The case of dissolution of an election commission, referendum commission shall be examined by a court at a full session.

5. The bodies of state power or a body of local self-government authorized to form an election commission, referendum commission shall form the appropriate election commission, referendum commission no later than 14 days after the court decision on dissolution of an election commission, referendum commission comes into legal force.

6. Dissolution of an election commission shall not entail termination of powers of non-voting members of the given election commission.

Article 26. Openness of the Activity of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

1. Members of higher election commissions, referendum commissions, a candidate registered by the given or a higher election commission or his/her agent, an authorized representative or an agent of the electoral association, electoral bloc, whose list of candidates has been registered by this or a higher election commission or a candidate from this list, a member or an authorized representative of the referendum initiative group may attend all meetings of the appropriate election commission, referendum commission, and when the appropriate precinct, territorial election commission, referendum commission works on lists of voters, referendum participants, ballots for election, ballots for referendum, absentee certificates for election, referendum, protocols on voting returns. The aforementioned persons shall not require any additional permission to attend the meetings and sessions of work with the aforementioned election-related documents, documents related to the preparation and administration of a referendum. The appropriate election commission, referendum commission shall inform these persons of its meetings and sessions of work with the aforementioned election-related documents, documents related to the preparation and administration of a referendum and shall allow them freely to be present thereat. The meetings, sessions of work with the aforementioned election-related documents, documents related to the preparation and administration of a referendum may also be attended by representatives of mass media.

2. Decisions of election commissions, referendum commissions shall be published in the mass media listed in Clause 1 of Article 39 of this Federal Law at the expense of the funds allocated for current activities of the said mass media from the relevant budget and submitted to other mass media within the terms set forth by relevant federal constitutional laws, federal laws, laws of Subjects of the Russian Federation.

3. On the voting day from the time the precinct election commission, precinct referendum commission begins its work and until receipt of a message that the higher election commission, referendum commission has adopted a protocol of the voting returns and also when votes of voters, referendum participants are recounted the persons mentioned in Clause 1 of this Article as well as observers, representatives of mass media, foreign (international) observers may be present at the polling stations.

4. Access to the premises of a precinct election commission, referendum commission formed in the election precinct, referendum precinct in a military unit, closed administrative-territorial unit, hospital, sanatorium, holiday hotel, investigation and preliminary confinement wards and to the polling station in the given election precinct, referendum precinct shall be provided to all members of the election commission, referendum commission, observers, other persons indicated in Clause 1 of this Article.

5. Observers, representatives of the mass media as well as foreign (international) observers shall have the right to be present on the premises of other election commissions, referendum commissions when they determine vote returns, results of elections compile relevant protocols on vote returns, election results or during the vote recounting.

6. Powers of observers shall be certified in writing by the candidate, electoral association, electoral bloc, public association, initiative group for referendum whose interests he/she represents, with his/her family name, given name, patronymic name, place of residence as well as the number of the electoral precinct, referendum precinct, the name of election commission, referendum commission to which he/she is forwarded, being specified. The above document shall be valid upon presentation of the passport (or other ID). No preliminary notification regarding the forwarding of an observer shall be required.

7. A law of a Subject of the Russian Federation regulating the procedure for holding elections to bodies of local self-government may provide for sending observers from a group of voters. In this case, upon arrival at the precinct or territorial election commission the observer from a group of voters shall produce a signature list (lists) with signatures of citizens of the Russian Federation who have the right to vote in the given precinct, territory, the number of such signatures to be established by a law of the Subject of the Russian Federation but not in excess of 50. An observer from a group of voters shall be responsible for the authenticity of data indicated in the signature list (lists).

8. The documents indicated in Clauses 6 and 7 of this Article may be presented to the precinct election commission, referendum commission during the period indicated in Clause 3 of this Article, to the territorial and another precinct election commission, referendum commission, from the time the commission begins to work on a protocol of voting returns in the corresponding territory until this work is finished.

9. An observer shall be entitled to:

a) review voter lists, lists of referendum participants;

b) be present on voting premises in the relevant electoral precinct, referendum precincts on voting day at any time during the period specified in Clause 3 of this Article;

c) attend the voting procedure outside the voting premises;

d) watch the counting of the number of citizens entered in the lists of voters, referendum participants, ballots for voting in elections and a referendum issued to voters, referendum participants, canceled ballots for voting in elections, a referendum; watch votes of voters, referendum participants being counted at the polling station in elections, a referendum from distance and under conditions which allow them to observe the contents of ballots; inspect any filled and unfilled ballot for voting in elections, referendum when votes of voters, referendum participants are counted; watch the election commission, referendum commission drawing up a protocol of the voting returns and other documents during the period indicated in Clause 3 of this Article;

e) to apply to the Chairman of the precinct election commission, referendum commission and make proposals and complaints regarding the organization of the voting procedure;

f) review the protocols of the precinct election commission, referendum commission on vote returns and the protocols of other election commissions on vote returns and election results, produce or receive copies of the protocols and documents attached thereto, and other documents received by the appropriate precinct election commissions, referendum commissions or drawn up by these commissions during the period indicated in Clause 3 of this Article, including the list of persons present at the voting from the relevant election commissions, referendum commissions. Upon request of an observer, the election commission, referendum commission shall certify a copy of the protocol on vote returns or election results;

g) appeal, in the procedure established by Article 63 of this Federal Law, actions (inaction) of the precinct election commission, other election commissions to the higher election commission, the election commission of Subject of the Russian Federation, the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation or a court of law and actions (inaction) of a referendum commission - to the territorial referendum commission, the election commission of Subjects of the Russian Federation, the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation or in a court;

h) be present when the appropriate commissions recount votes of voters, referendum participants.

10. An observer shall not:

a) issue ballots to voters or referendum participants;

b) sign for a voter, referendum participant at his/her request for receipt of the ballot;

c) complete ballots for a voter, referendum participant upon his/her request;

d) conduct action violating the secrecy of ballot;

e) directly participate in ballot counting conducted by voting members of election commission, referendum commission;

f) conduct actions that preclude activities of the election commission, referendum commission;

g) carry on campaigning among voters, referendum participants;

h) take part in the adoption of decisions by the appropriate election commission, referendum commission.

11. Representatives of the mass media shall be entitled to examine the protocol of the voting returns of the precinct election commission, referendum commission and the protocols of the voting returns or results of the elections, referendum of other election commissions, make or receive from the appropriate election commission, referendum commission copies of the said protocols and documents attached thereto. Upon a request of a representative of the mass media the election commission, referendum commission shall certify a copy of the protocol of voting returns or results of the elections, referendum.

12. Copies of protocols and other documents of election commissions, referendum commissions shall be certified by the chairman or the secretary of the election commission, referendum commission. In this case, the aforementioned persons shall mark the certified document with the inscription this is a true copy, put their signature and affix the seal of the given election commission, referendum commission.

13. Foreign (international) observers shall receive the permit to enter the Russian Federation in the procedures stipulated by the federal law and, if invited by the bodies of state power, election commissions, referendum commissions, they shall be accredited with the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation. Foreign (international) observers shall conduct their activities in compliance with federal constitutional laws and federal laws.

As amended 3/30/99.

Article 27. Organization of Activities of Election Commissions, Referendum Commissions

1. Activities of election commissions, referendum commissions shall be conducted on a collective (collegial) basis.

2. The election commission, referendum commission shall be competent to transact business if the number of its members is not less than two-thirds of the established number.

3. The chairman, deputy chairman and secretary of the election commission, referendum commission shall be elected by secret ballot at the first meeting of the commission from among the members of the election commission, referendum commission.

4. Meetings of the election commission, referendum commission shall be called by its chairman or, upon his/her request, by the deputy chairman of the election commission, referendum commission and upon a request of no less than one-third of voting members of the election commission, referendum commission.

5. A voting member of election commission, referendum commission shall attend all meetings of the election commission, referendum commission.

6. Meetings of election commissions, referendum commissions shall be valid if attended by the majority of voting members of the election commission, referendum commission. Meetings of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation shall be valid if attended by at least 2/3 of voting members of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, election commission of Subject of the Russian Federation.

7. Upon request of any member of an election commission, referendum commission or any member of the higher election commission, referendum commission present at its meeting the election commission, referendum commission shall take a vote on any matter within its competence, which is considered by the election commission, referendum commission at the meeting in accordance with the approved agenda.

8. Decisions of election commissions, referendum commissions regarding the election of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary of election commission, referendum commission regarding the issues of financial support of the preparation and administration of elections and referenda, registration of candidates (lists of candidates), cancellation of the registration of candidates, vote returns and election results, referendum results, announcing the election or referendum as not having taken place or invalid, as well as decisions regarding repeat voting or repeat election, cancellation of a decision of election commission, referendum commission in the procedure stipulated by Clause 8, Article 21 and Clauses 6, 7, 8 of Article 63 of this Federal Law shall be made at a meeting of election commissions, referendum commissions by vote majority of the established number of voting members of election commission, referendum commission.

9. Decisions of election commissions, referendum commissions regarding other issues shall be made by simple vote majority of the voting members of election commissions, referendum commissions present.

10. In case of a tie vote, when election commissions, referendum commissions make decisions, the vote of the Chairman of election commission, referendum commission shall be casting.

11. Decisions of election commissions, referendum commissions shall be signed by the Chairman and Secretary of election commissions, referendum commissions.

12. Members of election commissions, referendum commissions who disagree with a decision made by the commission, shall be entitled to express in writing their opinion which shall be considered by the commission, recorded in the protocol attached thereto and brought by the commission Chairman to notice of a higher election commission, referendum commission (subject to the level of the election, referendum) not later than within 3 days and immediately if submitted on election day or the day following election day.

13. The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation, election commission of a Subject of the Russian Federation shall have their staff, the structure and staff table of each shall be set by the election commission on their own and staff officers shall be regarded as state employees. Election commissions, referendum commissions may engage outside employees on a contractual basis in order to perform work related to the preparation and administration of elections, referenda.

As amended 3/30/99.

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