The Kremlin says Russia’s elections are free and fair. The Kremlin’s opponents say fraud and ballot-rigging are widespread.
Proving who is right is extraordinarily difficult, so to cut through the war of words, Reuters’ Moscow bureau set out to gather hard data to show what happened during Sunday’s presidential election that gave Vladimir Putin another term as Russia’s president.
Some of the most vivid reporting came from the southern Russian town of Ust-Djeguta where Reuters reporters recorded images of 17 people voting multiple times. Seven of them either denied voting more than once or declined to comment.
Reuters reporters were posted at 12 polling stations across five regions of Russia, where they tracked voting without interruption from the moment polls opened at 8 a.m. until after voting finished at 8 p.m. and election officials completed the count. The objective was to witness every person who walked into a polling station and cast a ballot, and then to check that figure against the official turnout.