Voters have the right to directly protest election returns in court – Constitutional Court

File Image of Map of Russia for Polling Place Webcams

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, April 22, 2013) The Russian Constitutional Court has confirmed the right of voters to protest election returns in court and declared the practice of banning direct applications to courts unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court announced a corresponding resolution on Monday after checking several provisions of Civil Proceedings Code and federal laws on guarantees of electoral rights and elections of State Duma deputies.

The court examination was conducted at the request of several applicants including the human rights commissioner. They believe that the interpretation of the disputed provisions by courts restricts the rights of voters to dispute voting results in court. The Constitutional Court found that the disputed provisions contradict the Russian Constitution.

The court stressed that a voter has the right to expect that their will be duly taken into account in the process of determining election results. The notion of active voting rights is not limited only to guarantees of free participation in ballot-casting; it remains in force during the time of ballot-counting and tabbing.

“The violation of requirements of election law committed after the completion of voting, in particular, during ballot-counting, leads to the distortion of election returns and thus arouses doubts about the legitimacy of governing bodies and the principles of democracy. Consequently, such violations affect the constitutional interest of each voter irrespective of concrete voter’s choice,” documents of the court press service say.