Russia’s State Duma elections ended at 11 pm on Sunday, September 19. When closing the polls, law requires Russia's precinct election commissions to destroy unused ballots to prevent falsification.
The practice of ballot disposal involves cutting the corners off the lower left-hand sides of each ballot. A hole punch or paper perforator is most frequently used. However, large stacks of paper sometimes remain after the polls have closed, and staff can be eager to cut a few corners (literally and figuratively) as they wrap up operations.
To speed up the process, poll workers in Russia’s Leninsky District used a chainsaw. One gentleman in Krasnoyarsk yielded an axe, and a Yekaterinburg resident shredded edges with a circular saw to render ballots useless.
The run-up to Russia’s 2021 Duma elections spawned other funny moments, including an outbreak of candidate-clones and new election observance restrictions because elections, obviously, are not for “idle curiosity, for lying on the couch to watch some kind of movie.”
Ballots were cast between Friday, September 17, and Sunday, September 19. On Sunday night, Russia’s TASS news agency reported preliminary results: the ruling United Russia party, associated with President Vladimir Putin, is leading the election with 43.7% of the votes. The Communist Party and the Liberal-Democratic Party followed at 22.6% and 8.6%, respectively.
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