Material for the report of the Chairman of the Central Election Commission at the meeting of chairpersons and secretaries of the Election Commissions of the subjects of the Russian Federation on the questions of preparation and administration of the elections of the President of the Russian Federation
January 27, 2000
Let me start with some words of heart felt thanks to you from the Central Election Commission for the successful work during the elections of the deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the third convocation.
In spite of the fact that the past election campaign was very difficult for the organizers, especially in using new amendments to the law, nevertheless this was not the main source of our problems.
The main difficulties appeared not in the legal or law-using spheres, but were the results of the operation of political forces in the election campaign. What's more, the heat of the political struggle and opposition of the competitors both at federal and single-mandate levels exceeded the acceptable limit.
Let's remember, how categorically society demanded free and fair elections, but at the same time how often the election process was checked for its soundness by the great will of people linked with criminal entities and extremist groups to achieve to power at any price.
Despite such an extraordinary situation, election commissions in co-operation with bodies of power and constructive political forces did not fail to hold the election campaign according to the requirements of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal legislation and to conduct the election process within legal limits.
The main objective to which we, the organizers of the elections, devoted the second half of the year was achieved successfully. The staff of the State Duma was elected, and the State Duma started its work on January 18, 2000.
As I have an opportunity to thank you, it's with great pleasure that I extend to you the words of appreciation for the work you have done, that the first president of the Russian Federation asked me to convey at our personal meeting on December 21, 1999.
Obviously, the appreciation of the head of state flows to the whole system of election commissions that provided for the normal course of the election process. Let me remind you that almost one million people work in 88 subject election commissions, 224 district election commissions, 2700 territorial election commissions and 94 000 precinct election commissions.
The results of this work are as follows. Of 5800 candidates who competed for a position of deputy in the State Duma of the third convocation, 225 achieved success at the federal level and 216 in single-mandate election districts, or every 13th candidate.
This time the representative character of the State Duma is obvious: 67 mil. voters participated in the elections, which constituted approximately 62 % of the population. Six political associations, that passed the 5 percent threshold, gathered 81.37% of votes. 4 years ago this index was 50.5% of votes.
About the results of the elections at the federal level. 89 political associations of 139, that were registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, took part in the election competition.
Half of them participated independently and others united into 11 political blocks. Within the times established by law 32 electoral associations and blocks represented their signature lists and other documents.
After the checking of 150 000 of signature lists with 1.5 mil. signatures 20 000 other documents the federal lists of 26 electoral associations and blocks were registered, later they were included in ballots (by deposit - 16, by signatures - 10).
4 electoral associations were refused registration in federal lists. They were LDPR, «Movement «NUR», « Front of National Salvation» and «Russian Conservatory Party of Entrepreneurs».
«Spas» and «Ecological Party of Russia «Kedr» were moved from pre-election race for other reasons.
By the results of the voting only 6 electoral associations and blocks passed the 5 percent threshold (in 1995 - only 4 out of 43 electoral associations passed it).
We presume that the results of the self-determination of Russian citizens will have an effect on both the political and electoral spheres for a few years to come. After all, the electoral unions and blocs, as they came to be known by outsiders, will carry moral as well as essential material losses.
For example, 15 unsuccessful candidates for mandates in Federal districts, who went in the elections by monetary deposit and received less than 3% of votes, will part with a sum more than 31 million roubles.
Eighteen unions and blocs, for whom less than 2% of electors voted, will return 4 million roubles. These resources were transferred to them by the CEC of the Russian Federation. Compensation for transportation expenses will also be returned.
Finally, each of them should return a sum in the vicinity of 10 million roubles for the provision of free television and radio air-time, and print-space in periodicals of mass distribution with government involvement.
Whoever fails to do this will not receive State funding during the next election campaign.
Elections were held in 224 single-mandate election districts, apart from district number 31 - the Chechen Republic. 2226 candidates were registered, 759 of these on the basis of an election-deposit.
216 mandates were distributed. In eight districts where elections did not take place due to the «protest» votes of electors, repeat elections will be held on March 26.
Who achieved mandates?
111 - candidates nominated by election unions and blocs; 101 - candidates nominated by electors and 4 self-nominated candidates.
The most number of deputy places per single-mandate district were achieved by: «KPRF» - 46, «Otechestvo - All Russia» - 31, «Medved» - 9, «NDR» - 7, «Souz Pravix Sil» - 5, «Yabloko» - 4.
In comparison with 1995, when 23 unions and blocs were represented among the selected deputies in single-mandate districts, in the last election this figure was reduced almost by half (13).
Drawing to your attention the fact that, as in the Federal district, in single-mandate districts there are many candidates for mandates whose claim to a place in the State Duma were groundless.
53.5% of candidates received less than five percent of votes.
Only 26 candidates gathered more than half the electors' votes.
A large number of electors (7.7 million people, or 11.6%) voted «against all candidates.»
The composition of the State Duma of the third convocation.
In comparison with the previous Duma, the quantity of women reduced by a quarter. With the exception of four people, all have higher or incomplete higher education.
67 deputies went into the composition of the Duma of the two previous convocations, 166 in the second convocation. Almost 20 parliamentarians have been deputies since 1990. Over 97% of deputies are officers.
You are all obviously acquainted with our agenda for today and tomorrow, and have noticed that members of the Commission will speak on practically all the basic directions of the work of the CEC of the Russian Federation in accordance with the plan.
This frees me from the details of our usual work. I will dwell upon some of the special aspects of preparation and holding of the December elections.
We have a renewed and fully acceptable legal basis for elections.
Besides of the Federal law «On the elections of deputies of the State Duma», the basic Federal law «On the basic guarantees of electors' rights and the right of citizens of the Russian Federation to participate in the referendum» operated.
The corresponding changes and additions were made in the laws «On Public Associations» and «On the Militia». During the election campaign the Federal law «On the administrative responsibilities of legal entities for offences against the legislation of the Russian Federation on elections and referendums» came into force.
With the purpose of uniformity of reception of the election legislation, the CEC of Russia adopted and incorporated into the Commissions almost 40 instructions and explanations, concerning practically all the stages of the election campaign.
We believed, and are now not departing from the position, that on the whole we basically managed to achieve consistent work, fully in line with the realization of its required functions.
Incidentally I cannot fail to mention the passage published the day before yesterday in «Nezavisimaaya Gazeta» of lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is well known from the television screen. He characterized our explanations, having taken the word «explanation» in inverted commas, as monstrous, as a masterpiece of legal barbarianism.
What can I say to this? Obviously, it is not since known to this outspoken lawyer, that the High Court expressed a completely opposite opinion on this point and pronounced all the so-called experts' attacks on the Commission's explanations to be baseless.
No one may remain indifferent towards the situation in the sphere of pre-election propaganda, especially the parts concerning the mass media.
And if the CEC of Russia managed to stop illicit movements acknowledged here in the early stages of the election campaign, then a genuine information war would unsatisfactorily unfold during pre-election agitation on the channels «ORT»,»RTR» and «TV-Center»
To stop this without the necessary support of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Press, Television, Radio and Mass Communications was practically impossible. Warnings were only brought out against «ORT» and «TVC» for five days before polling day. However, in many regions of the country the state of affairs didn't differ markedly from federal level. In a few it didn't differ at all.
I'd like to make two more mentions. Firstly, it is the strengthening of the position of SAS «Vibory» in the election process. Not a single discredited fact is broadcast with the help of an automated system of information.
Secondly, during the administration of the December elections, compared with the campaigns of 1995 and 1996, when the system used the chief form on polling days and for generally running the elections, SAS «Vibory» was used at all stages of the election campaign.
Completely new in the practice of the system was the resolution of the problem of control over deposit and withdrawal of funds from election accounts.
Yet not everything went smoothly with the automated technology. During the stage of nomination and registration of candidates information about them was transferred with substantial delay and, sometimes, incompletely. The Election Commission of Ivanovskaya Oblast and the City of Moscow, for example, communicated the information FKZ «Candidate/Deputy» only in November.
I recall that on the polling day in Ostankino the Federal Information Center «Elections-99» was operating. Provision of its work also became one of the problems of the automated system.
On the productiveness of our efforts, I can say the following: At 9pm on December 19 at KSA the CEC of Russia was informed of the first set of data on the overall preliminary vote for the Federal district, and for the single-mandate districts. The data was received from 781 territorial Commissions of 32 Subjects of the Russian Federation.
On the whole, the automated system functioned without glitches for the reception and processing of information. I only leave aside the lag in the broadcast of the overall preliminary vote from Bashkortistan, Dagestan, Tartarstan and Mosckovaya Oblast. For example, at 12 am, December 20, the operative information was not received from 10 territorial commissions in Bashkortistan, 19 commissions in Dagestan and 21 commissions in Tartarstan.
In connection with this, I cannot reciprocate the concern of a number of chairmen of election commissions of subjects of the Russian Federation, in particular, the Kirovskaya and Orenburgskaya Oblasts, who have sent us their suggestions for the further improvement of SAS «Vibory.»
I think we should all think generally about how to secure the appointment of high skilled specialists as system administrators and how to increase the intensity of their training, what methods of motivation should be used, and finally how to solve the problem of timely implantation of modified versions of tasks of SAS « Vibory», but not on the threshold of the election campaign.
I can't leave without attention one more problem that was solved by commissions during the preparation to the elections for the first time. I am speaking about opposition to the criminalization of representative power.
During the previous elections we managed to create strong obstacles for people linked with criminal entities from passing to the State Duma.
Only one fact: not one of those named in the mass media became the deputy of the State Duma of the third convocation.
The parliamentary elections were free and fair. The election campaign and the voting were covered by more than 3 000 TV and radio companies and periodicals.
Public Control for the elections was actualized by 500 000 Russian and approximately 1 200 international observers from 58 countries and 105 international organizations.
A majority of you watched directly how international observers acted. Let me report to you how they assessed the election campaign.
At the press-conference held on December 20, 1999 the chairmen of international organizations H. Dane (Denmark, the chairman of Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE), A. Mulleman (Switzerland, the head of delegation of Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE) K.. Krel (Germany, the head of delegation of European Parliament) and A. Brunner (Switzerland, the head of the mission of the observers from OSCE) unanimously expressed the positive opinion on the work of election commissions of Russia.
According to the official assessments and conclusions of foreign observers the elections marked a new and important stage of the development of democracy and multi-party system in Russia. It is pointed out that they were held according to the law, which in its turn corresponds to the highest international standards, provides competition, pluralism and transparency at all stages of election process.
The particularities of the last election campaign were its extremely tense nature, innovations in legislation and the absence of their implementation. Rotation of the commissions' composition at all levels had some glitches and mistakes in the election process, including those made by the organizers of elections.
Let's be self-critical: it concerned the CEC of the Russian Federation as well. For example, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation considered 50 complaints on the decisions and actions of the CEC of Russia. 6 of them were answered. All of them were connected with the check provided by supervisory bodies of the information on property and income of candidates who were included in federal lists of electoral associations and blocks.
The Supreme Court confirmed the legality of the decisions made by the CEC of the Russian Federation on all key issues of the law-using practice during the last elections.
The situation with district commissions looks different. Their organizing activities were not always blameless in the legal sphere. You and I are professional organizers of the elections, we work on the staff, that's why we have no right to pass by our own inadvertence.
Do you remember that at the beginning of the election campaign, apprehending possible glitches just at the stage of nomination and registration of candidates, we specifically asked you to be very attentive when making decisions about the refusal in registration or about the abolition of registration.
We even had an agreement to bring the appraisal of the situation into the account with the CEC of the Russian Federation in such cases. But it did not take place in practice.
Lots of the district election commissions' decisions about the refusal in registration of candidates were not convincing or even arguable. That's why we had many claims in regional courts, where they abolished juridically unbalanced decisions. Cases of this kind took place in more than 20 subjects of the Russian Federation.
Considering the limit of time, the Working Group of the CEC of Russia had a lot of work too, concerning the preliminary consideration of complaints about the decisions and actions (inaction) of election commissions and their administrators.
The Working Group considered approximately 130 claims of participants of the election process during the last election campaign. On the base of its proposals the CEC accepted 96 resolutions.
The absolute majority of the candidates' claims (83) were connected with the decisions of the district election commissions about the refusal in registration. In connection with the refusal of registration of candidates, 14 complaints were considered. The DEC refusals of the reception of documents were considered twice. There were only 4 complaints about the DEC pronouncements of the notifications to the candidates for the breach of the law.
The most complaints were received from Moscow oblast (12), Republic of Bash-kortostan (11), Krasnodar Region (9), Moscow (8).
The analysis of the complaints shows, that we can divide them into three groups of law breaking, on the base of which the DEC refused to register candidates or abolished the registration. They are: failure to follow the procedures governing the collection of signatures (46 claims), basic falsification of information (33 claims) and, finally, problems with the establishment of electoral funds, deposits and withdrawals of money and account statements (28 claims).
Among the common defects, the absence of which may have lowered the number of refusals of registration of candidates for deputies and complaints connected with this in the CEC of Russia, was insufficient interaction of departments of Election Commissions with candidates for deputies.
The CEC of Russia satisfied 47 complaints, or half of those reviewed at sittings of the Commission. In 48 cases the demands of complainants were refused. In the case of a complaint about the inaction of a district commission the CEC of Russia required it to make a definitive decision.
However, we cannot focus only on figures, although they provide definitive signs of disfavor.
It is regrettable that the bases for review of district commissions' decisions were incomplete investigations of situations in every substantial case, as well as carelessness in the preparation of principle decisions, made without any motivation.
According to our data, even now - a month after the elections - there are complaints in courts of subjects of the Russian Federation about unlawful assumptions in 23 electoral districts. The concerns raised by the complaints are basically connected with the registration of candidates, pre-election agitation and voting overall. In accordance with their examination, corrections will be made - if required - to the records of election results. The CEC of Russia will also respond to court decisions.
Attention must be turned to the fact that practically every third complaint is linked with the voting process and the administration of the vote returns casts doubt on the results of the election. This is the worst case imaginable in the practice of the commissions' work.
Of course, it is possible to understand situations where the fairness of the election process depends not only on the work of the election commissions, for example in relation to - pre-election propaganda, verification of submitted information and some other aspects of work.
But in this case it's possible to talk only of our own mistakes. The notorious «avos» and «nebos» are very costly, both directly and indirectly, for society and they inflict serious damage upon the whole system of election commissions.
How much effort has already been expended on the provision of polls in places of electors' temporary residence! But as soon as this work began, it turned out that problems appeared everywhere. And what's interesting about these problems, is that they could have been solved beforehand through legal and organizational methods. I'll give an example.
In the Republic of Bashkortostan at polling site No. 850 of the Leninskiy Region, city of Ufa, due to the fact that commissions did not manage to provide the poll in the pre-trial detention center with the necessary amount of booths by the election day, 179 people of 2000 who had the right to vote, did not vote.
The list of examples goes on. But the main problem is not the quantity of examples. The problem amounts to the fact that somewhere the feeling of responsibility is beginning to subside, but at the same time the desire to go on in the same way as before is reducing markedly.
A situation that is even more serious, is when criminal liability is brought against election officials themselves.
At the moment, prosecutors are investigating six criminal cases, linked with violations discovered during the last elections.
In two cases the members of the precinct election commissions of Prikubansky Region, Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia and the town of Pervouralsk of the Scerdlovskaya Oblast may realistically be taken to court, because, according to the material, they infringed the legislative requirements of administrating vote returns.
In Prikubansky Region of Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia the following happened. On the election day on the window sill of polling station No. 164 in the village of Kavkazky, and in the bags of some members of this precinct election commission there were found photocopies of election ballots for voting in single-mandate election district. On the basis of these facts, the territorial commission declared the election results invalid in polling district No. 164, in Karachaevo-Cherkessia single-mandate district No. 15. The district election commission agreed with this decision. Now the investigation is being treated as a criminal matter.
A lot of infringements occurred in the election polls No. 864, 865 and 874 in the town of Pervouralsk. There were in existence unmarked forms of the protocol of vote returns that were signed by the members of the commission and stamped, and besides that, contradictory copies of the protocol were given to observers and to the territorial commission.
I wouldn't like to comment on this situation. I'll say only, that I am of the opinion that the chairmen of these commissions, after listening to our persuasive advice and not unfounded warnings at the meeting before the elections, behaved in exactly the opposite way.
On this note I will allow myself to comment on the position of the CEC of Russia on the issue: we will not shield anyone. And there will be no talk of protecting those from our own ranks. A law is broken - answer!
Returning to the subject of international observers.
Alongside the high appraisals given by international observers, were a number of claims about unsatisfactory attitudes of certain election commissions. Observers were not assisted in a series of precincts, and even began to have obstacles placed before them which prevented them from fulfilling their duties. Presenting the authorized certificates of accreditation issued by the CEC of Russia did not help. Some sort of additional endorsement was required.
Questions arose before some observers in connection with the variety of copies that were given to them of the protocol with results of the vote and final vote returns. It's possible that the foreigners were actually given revised documents on separate occasions. But who insisted on this format? In all - suspicions and doubts were raised as to the legitimacy of the electors' self-determination.
There is every reason to believe that there will be a marked increase in interest from the international community towards the election of the President of the Russian Federation.
Members of election commissions should display maximum attention towards foreign (international) observers. Not to demand from them any kind of additional documents in support of their authorization. Not to create restrictions for their activities that are unforeseeable in the legislation. Not to refuse requests by foreigners (international) observers for the production of preparatory documents of the election commissions for perusal - unless this is prohibited by law.
I believe that all those present agree that our compatriot-observers deserve such an attentive approach. In essence, they are our colleagues in the task of ensuring the integrity of the election process. They only «interfere» with those who are prepared to shrink from the requirements of the law.
I will dwell on the problem which stands before us to resolve together in the course of preparing for and holding the election of the President of the Russian Federation.
We want these elections to be conducted with maximum objectivity, for them to occur openly and transparently in conditions of honest competition, without serious infringements of the law.
The results of the election should reflect to the utmost extent the will of Russian electors. No one should have doubts as to their authenticity.
We have every reason to hope for this. Along with the law on the basic guarantees of electors' rights, a renewed law on the election of the President of the Russian Federation is in operation.
This law clears up many of the gray areas in the sphere of legal regulation and certain deficiencies of the old version of the law, while the positive practices of federal and regional election campaigns from the last few years have been absorbed by it.
More rigid restrictions on the use of advantages of position or official postings have been established.
Clearer definitions of the rules governing pre-election propaganda.
From now on the check of information about the property and income of the candidates, and sources of the election campaign financing will be conducted more carefully. The CEC Auditing Department started the process of acceptance and checking of the documents that contain information about the size and sources of income, about property and liabilities of each candidate, his/her spouse and children.
Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Tax Inspectorate, Federal Security Service of Russia, and Federal Service of the Tax Policy have been involved in the checks. As soon as information from the above mentioned bodies comes to the CEC, it will be carefully analyzed. After that informational notes for each candidates with an assessment of seriousness of the revealed violations will be compiled. On the basis of the processed data the CEC will take decisions.
Speaking about interaction with the bodies of power, I would like to mention a role played by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated January 13, 2000, No.32 «On Assistance to Election Commissions in the Preparation for and Conduct of the Presidential Election», in which the participation in the election campaign of the bodies of executive power of the RF is described in detail.
Our opinion is that similar acts should be adopted in each subject of the RF, and in the first place in those regions where the federal election will be combined with the regional and local elections.
I would like to remind you that together with the Presidential Election, repeat election of the deputies to the State Duma will be taking place in 8 Constituencies (6 subjects of the Federation), there will also be elections of 7 heads of executive power and 4 legislation bodies of powers of 9 subjects of the RF.
If you add here the conduct of vacancy filling and repeat regional and local elections in dozens of subjects of the RF, the importance of close interaction between the election commissions and bodies of power will become clear.
We now have an additional instrument for enforcement measures for dishonest election process participants, including those who committed administrative violations.
Of special interest are norms of administrative responsibility of legal entities.
For the first time the responsibilities of legal entities for 10 administrative violations have been determined. They include: failure to fulfil decisions of election commissions, non-observance of the pre-election campaigning terms and conditions, violation of rules of advertising commercial activities of the election campaign participants, production and distribution of anonymous agitation materials, bribing of voters, etc. The fines established by this law make up 200-500 minimal monthly wages.
Changes and additions to Article 10 of the Law «On Militia» were very timely. In accordance with these changes, bodies of militia are obliged to render assistance to election commissioners in their lawful activities, if they are facing counteraction or if they are endangered.
Militia bodies should take measures to stop illegal pre-election agitation during the election campaign, attempts of voters' bribing, and should inform election commissions about the revealed violations and the measures taken.
Presidential election campaign is picking up speed. As of now, the CEC has registered 15 initiative groups of voters that nominated their candidates for the position of the President of RF and got the right to collect signatures in support of their candidates. When the Presidential campaign of 1999 started, 91 initiative group was nominating 77 candidates. Only 12 were registered.
Besides, three electoral associations nominated their candidates: Conservative Party of Russia, Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia, and All-Union Political Peoples' Party.
What are main tasks of election commissions at the time of preparation for and conduct of the Presidential election?
In brief election commissions should do the following:
- organize daily educational activities among voters, election commissioners and other participants of the electoral process on the issues related to election legislation, starting from the procedures of signature collection in support of the nominated candidates and ending up with the voting procedures, including the use of absentee certificates;
- in the established terms together with the bodies of local self-government to form territorial and precinct election commissions, to provide them with the necessary premises, communication, transport, office supplies and forms;
- to arrange for training of the members of election commissions of all levels, to pay special attention to the fact that they are fully responsible for the quality of voter lists, security of ballots, absentee certificates, stamps and other documentation;
- taking into account the experience and lessons of the Parliamentary election, a special attention should be given to the issues of organization and conduct of voting, including places of temporary voters' residence (pre-trial detention centers, hospitals, etc.), and also to the vote tallying procedure;
- in accordance with the law requirements we must do our best to provide for equal conditions for pre-election agitation conduct;
- among important directions of our activities is control over the observance of financial procedures requirements related to spending of finances that were allocated for the election. Financial issues also include timely approval of election commission's budgets, financial documents processing, submission of financial reports;
- we must not leave without attention such issues as timely review of complaints and appeals of the election process participants.
Today the so-called election commissions of the highest level are operating. We need to form territorial and precinct election commissions that directly provide an interaction of the commissions system with the main subject of the election process - voters.
Naturally, the process of their formation is extremely important. The staff of these commissions will make up about 1 million people.
To solve this problem you, dear colleagues, have to do all the necessary work with heads of representative bodies of local self-government that are authorized to appoint voting members of these commissions (deadline for territorial commissions - February 9, precinct commissions - March 6).
In the course of organizational activities it is worthwhile not only to report on peculiarities of application of the law but also to draw attention of heads of representative bodies to maximum utilization of those staff members when appointing election commissioners who have been through professional training conducted in the framework of regional programs of education of election officials.
Naturally, you should take into account the requirements set forth by the Federal law that rules that representatives of election associations represented in the State Duma and in the legislative organ of the state power of the subjects of the Russian Federation are to be appointed members of election commissions in the order of priority.
The specificity of forming these commissions is defined by the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation in the «Clarifications on formation of territorial and precinct election commissions for preparation and conduct of election of the President of the Russian Federation» which lays out in detail all the necessary requirements and provides practical recommendations.
For this category of election officials all the necessary methodological materials have to be prepared in advance. CEC RF in turn will provide each precinct election commission with a text of the Federal law, a kit of normative acts issued by the CEC, election commission member working manual, appropriate posters, and other visual aids.
In addition, it is planned to conduct all-Russian teleconference at the closing stage of the preparations in which chairpersons of territorial and precinct election commissions will participate. This teleconference will be mostly dedicated to the organization of the voting process and the vote count.
Nomination of presidential candidates is accompanied by the collection of voters' signatures in their support (500,000). The order of signature collection is regulated by the law well enough and does not need additional clarifications.
At the same time it has to be born in mind that essential violations of this order can be considered sufficient grounds to refuse registration. Severe or repeated violations of the rules set by the law (participation of administrative bodies in the collection of signatures, coercion or bribery of the voters to submit their signatures) can be sufficient grounds to cancel registration of an already registered candidate.
February 13 is the deadline for submission of registration documents to the CEC RF. Processing of the documents and verification of the submitted data, including the signature lists, will have to be done within a very short period of time.
Therefore, we have formed a special working group within the CEC that will be responsible for documentation processing. However, given the time constraints and the large amount of work to do we realize that we will not be able to do without your help. In addition, in many cases the submitted data can only be verified locally.
We also think that it would be worthwhile for you too to create working groups to include all the necessary specialists and have them verify registration documentation.
The normative base for this can be found both in the Federal law «On election of the President of the Russian Federation» and Resolution #32 issued by the Government of the Russian Federation on January 13, 2000.
I would like once again to draw your attention to the «cleanliness» of the voters' lists. This area still remains problematic. I urge you to control the work of territorial commissions with voters' lists on a daily basis. Although we do have some leeway time-wise, it is not recommended to postpone this work until later considering its volume and scrupulousness.
Mechanic duplication of voters' lists prepared for the parliamentary elections will not do. Therefore, bodies of local self-government must submit new, updated lists of voters whereas territorial commissions must verify them. This procedure should not bring about any serious grievances and complaints.
Analysis of application of laws practiced by election commissions during the previous election campaign is not our primary concern. What is important for us is the lessons that we can infer from this practice using which we can organize the presidential elections more effectively.
It is abnormal when creative and intellectual abilities of a great number of people are utilized to solve a concrete problem, funds are spent, and then everything is ruined by a series of organizational setbacks.
At the same time, this is exactly how one can describe the facts of belated delivery of informational and methodological materials to election commissions in the subjects of the Russian federation.
For example, such materials never made it to the Evenk autonomous district even by the voting day. In the Irkutsk region many election commissions did not receive posters and other printed materials due to ill-timed deliveries.
I have to admit that it is the structures of our apparatus that are responsible for the shipment and delivery of such materials that are to be partially blamed for that.
Another lesson has to do with the most «vulnerable» sphere of the election process - pre-election campaigning. Especially when it comes to campaigning on TV channels and in the printed mass media.
There is a whole scope of problems and complaints associated with violations of election-related legislation of which you are well aware. They include facts of untimely publication by certain mass media of information on their prices for airtime and printing area, violation of air schedules determined on the basis of drawing results, other violations, let alone the blatant facts of unleashing informational wars.
A legitimate question arises: what measures should election commissions undertake in order to prevent such gross violations?
First, we all have to be of one accord on our principled position. The law is universal for all. Every fact of its violation has to be given publicity and adequately assessed by election officials.
Second, it is necessary to pay more attention to our contacts with leaders of regional printed media and broadcasting organizations and use these contacts to improve mutual understanding.
My experience shows that sometimes it is not easy but we have to work in this direction. By the way, this was proved by a number of meetings that were held this week between the Commission and leaders of TV and radio companies, information agencies, newspapers, and magazines, that were dedicated to issues of pre-election campaigning during the presidential election campaign.
Conversations at all of these meetings were constructive and facilitated considerably our similar understanding of problems. We have not identified any significant disagreements. I think this could be a good premise for similar meetings in the subjects of the Federation.
Third, in order to prevent the utilization of lawbreaking election technologies in the sphere of pre-election campaigning, election commissions have to improve coordination of their activities with those of local organs of law enforcement, Federal Security Service, prosecution bodies.
And one more lesson inferred from the past election campaign.
Unfortunately, not all the election commissions have passed an independence test. I will not give you concrete examples, but some of our colleagues did show indirect signs of «bending» under the administrative pressure. And not all of it is as hugger-mugger as it may sometimes appear. The fact that some commissions first rejected registration of certain candidates and later canceled their own decisions speaks for itself. There are some other indicative facts as well.
Therefore, it is the time we address the issue of strengthening the vertical line of command when coordinating efforts of election commissions, especially in the sphere of formation of lower-level commissions. It is important that we get rid of the administrative pressure from local and regional authorities. Should we agree that the legislation that regulates formation of election commissions in the conditions of federal elections might be changed we must consider this possibility as well.
Holding Multiple Elections Simultaneously
At some polling stations in Leningradsky, Sverdlovsky, and Yaroslavsky regions voters will have to fill out four ballots. In the city of Monchegorsk of the Murmansk region yet another ballot will be added for voting at the local referendum.
Experience of the parliamentary elections indicates that it is not worthwhile to combine more than three levels of elections.
Territorial and precinct election commissions have to tackle considerable workloads that often negatively affect the quality of their work. Especially vulnerable in this respect are members of precinct election commissions. They are to count votes and fill out election results protocols without taking a single break.
On December 19, 1999 elections of heads of executive power bodies and organs of local self-government were held simultaneously in Moscow region and the city of Moscow. Facts have been registered indicating that this resulted in a low quality of election results protocols as well as in failures to deliver election-related documentation on time.
Multiple elections held simultaneously have demonstrated that polling stations require additional equipment to cope with the workload effectively. For example, at some polling stations in the capital ballot boxes could not contain all the ballots that were put into them.
In St. Petersburg the insufficient number of cabins for secret voting led to accumulation of large groups of voters on the premises who had to fill out their ballots right on their knees thus compromising the very principle of secret voting.
We have received complaints from other subjects of the Russian Federation as well. Many voters complained that despite advance notices their respective election commissions failed to facilitate the implementation of their voting rights by not delivering mobile ballot boxes to their homes.
Signals have been received from observers that unlike for the federal elections some election commissions did not use enlarged protocol forms for local and regional elections. Thus, those who decide in favor of holding multiple elections simultaneously have to prepare for them in the most responsible manner.
Briefly on funding. Approximately 1 billion rubles was transferred to subject election commissions' bank accounts in order to fund elections of deputies to the State Duma.
At the moment we keep receiving and auditing financial reports from lower-level election commissions. In this respect I would like to request that you maintain a principled position when estimating the incurred expenses, including their types and amounts.
2,485.9 million rubles is allocated for the presidential elections in the federal budget. That accounts for a run-off possibility.
Out of this amount approximately 85% is intended for the subjects of the Russian Federation to enable election commissions of all levels to do their job.
By now the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation has received practically all of the funds allocated for the presidential election campaign. 167 million rubles has been already forwarded to accounts of election commissions of the subjects of the Russian Federation.
Just like in the previous elections, special attention will be paid to the remuneration fund line item of election commission budgets. In addition, there is a possibility that budgets of territorial and precinct election commissions will be increased by 20-25%. It is important to remember that expenses unaccounted for in the 1996 presidential elections will be accounted for when determining levels of funding this time.
It is everyone's responsibility to undertake comprehensive measures to ensure that funds are spent on what they are allocated for and their spending is closely monitored.
60 million rubles is allocated in the federal FY 2000 budget to fund activities of election commissions of the subjects of the Russian Federation. Funds for the first quarter were forwarded to you in accordance with the resolution of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation «On funding activities of election commissions of the subjects of the Russian Federation». Further funding will be provided based on the analysis of proposals received.
Finishing my report, I would like to wish that you remain confident and use your wisdom when tackling the tasks that we, election officials, have in store. I am positive that we will worthily complete presidential elections and will give no reason whatsoever to doubt their legitimateness and fair nature.
Thank you for your attention, I hope we will have a constructive discussion of the topic of our today's meeting.