November 01, 2021

Outsmarting Smart Voting

Outsmarting Smart Voting
“We Vote Together!” Election billboard in Mari El, prior to the September election. Zev-275

“In Moscow, there were complaints about electronic voting not because there are doubts about its validity but because somebody didn’t like the result.”  – Vladimir Putin, a few days after the results were known.

For the first time since 2016, and the first time since the momentous constitutional changes of 2020 allowing President Putin to run for two more presidential terms, Russia has elected a new parliament. Voting lasted three days and included internet voting. When the results were announced, the majority United Russia party (UR) once again had a constitutional majority in the Duma, dropping just a few seats.

The difference between these and previous elections, however, was the unprecedented pressure exerted on the various projects spearheaded by Alexei Navalny (who is in prison) aimed at ousting United Russia from legislative bodies. A few years ago, Navalny’s Smart Voting campaign helped put many opposition candidates in the Moscow regional parliament. The idea behind Smart Voting is simple: the program informs voters which non-UR candidate in a particular district has the best chance of defeating UR.

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