A Word About: The State Automated System (SAS) Election of President of the Russian Federation 16 June 1996
The Central Election Commission has established a system of computers linked together to transmit precinct results up through the administrative election hierarchy called the State Automated System (SAS). The SAS was instigated by a Decree of the President in August of 1994 to increase both the speed, accuracy and transparency in the reporting of election returns. The results from the manual counting of ballots at the Polling Stations will be reported on protocols which will be delivered to the relative Territorial Election Commissions. Upon delivery, the data from the protocols will be entered into the SAS computer network to be integrated into cumulative totals Federation-wide.
The results reported through the SAS will be preliminary and «unofficial.» It is estimated that initial computerized reports of these «unofficial» results should be available beginning at 11:00 p.m. in Moscow after the polls in the farthest western area of Kaliningrad close. Most likely, the earliest initial returns will be those coming from parts of the Federation in the eastern time zones where polls close first.
Over 2800 computers have been distributed among 88 of the 89 Subjects of the Russian Federation. Chechnya was the only Subject for which computers were not scheduled for delivery. This number reflects delivery of computers to 2713 of the 2735 Territories established for this election.
As of 10 June 1996, 82 Subjects had reported that their computers were installed and operational in the territories in their jurisdiction. In six Subjects, installation and preparation was still underway.
In addition to computers provided to Territorial Commissions, 39 computers linked to the SAS were assigned to Embassies beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, 1 computer has been placed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and 14 computers have been assigned to frontier military units serving outside the Federation.
Fundamentals of the Process:
Polling Site Election Commissions will count the votes after the polls close and prepare protocols on which they will report the results. Once completed, the initial copy of the protocol will be delivered to the Territorial Election Commission. The second copy of the protocol along with election related documents and the ballots will remain with the Polling Station Election on election night. These materials will be transferred to the Territorial Commission within 10 days after the announcement of official results.
Upon receipt, the Territorial Electoral Commission will enter the data from each individual precinct protocol into the SAS. The data will be simultaneously transmitted to the Subject Election Commission and to the Central Election Commission.
The Territorial Electoral Commission will also prepare a summary of the accumulated results from all the precincts in their territory which will be reported on a summary protocol. The TEC will also transmit the accumulated summary data via the SAS to the Territorial Election Commission and the Central Election Commission.
Based on information received from the Territories, the Subject Election Commissions will follow similar procedures for summarizing Subject-wide results. They will ultimately transmit their summarized data to the Central Election Commission via the SAS. A data control room is established at the Central Election Commission offices.
At each Commission level where data entry will be conducted and at the Central Election Commission, Control Groups made up of both deciding and deliberative voting members of the relative commission will be responsible for overseeing and auditing the data entry process and to verify the accuracy of the results as they are reported.
As of 12 June 1996, efforts were still underway to ensure that appropriate expertise and trained personnel were on-line at all site. There may be a few areas where the SAS may not be totally operational by election day, although these sites should be few in number. In the event results cannot be reported from a Territory or remote site due to malfunction or other unanticipated contingency, a back up system of reporting will be employed via telephone or fax.
The Central Election Commission will have 15 days to audit the returns, confirm their accuracy and announce the official results.
Throughout election day, there will be call-in reports of voter turnout from the precincts to the Territorial Commissions on a regular schedule. It has been arranged that these reports will be scheduled at 10:00 a.m.. Noon, 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. From these estimates entered into the system, the SAS will project overall turnout at intervals throughout the polling hours.
Control Groups Members at the CEC:
Attached is the Resolution adopted by the CEC regarding the appointment of deciding vote and deliberative vote members to the Control Group who responsible for overseeing the SAS reporting on election night at the Central Election Commission Level. All members of the commission will be involved in the overall audit of the returns.