In Chechnya, 107% Turnout —for Putin

Obvious ballot-stuffing spotted in region
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2012 6:56 AM CST
Russian police officers detain a protester after a rally in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 5, 2012.   (AP Photo/Yuri Tutov)
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(Newser) – Vladimir Putin may have engaged in a brutal crackdown on Chechnya over the last, say, decade-plus, but it appears to have done wonders for his popularity, as evidenced by his extraordinary results there in Sunday's elections. A little too extraordinary, reports the New York Times: Putin garnered 1,482 votes to his opponent's single vote at one precinct. Problem? There are 1,389 voters registered in that district, pegging turnout at a rather unrealistic 107%. “Look, something is not adding up here,” says the head of the local electoral commission.

The Times notes that, unlike December's elections, such obvious ballot-stuffing appears to have been largely muted this time around, but the North Caucasus region remains fraud-ridden. In one Grozny neighborhood, the Times questioned voters spotted going from polling place to polling place, and was told matter-of-factly, "We're voting." Another women stepped away from her group, and said, “I hate him, but, speaking honestly, we were forced to come here.”

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