REM Glossary article

Video surveillance


Video surveillance is the means of monitoring the work of precinct and territorial electoral commissions in real-time from the time of their opening on election day until the vote counting is completed. Video surveillance records should be kept for a certain period after the election.

Many polling stations were equipped for the first time with webcams for the 2012 presidential election, providing live coverage of PECs’ work. Video surveillance was aimed to prevent falsifications and increase the transparency of the commissions’ work. A special website was launched for this purpose that allowed anyone to register and choose which polling station they would like to observe on election day.

The deployment of video surveillance has revealed various types of electoral fraud that often take place in elections. Subsequent detailed examination of video surveillance footage by observing associations discovered massive electoral violations. However, such video footage was often not accepted as evidence to overturn the election results in court.

In 2016, access to both live video surveillance and stored video materials of the commission's work was significantly restricted. Obtaining saved video materials became possible only by filing an application to the Election Commissions of the Subjects of the Russian Federation (ECsRF) and reporting that violations took place during the elections. In September 2021, access to video broadcasts was substantially limited. The right to view video broadcasts is preserved for PEC commissioners with a decisive vote at their polling station, partial access is granted to parties and nominated candidates. Unlimited access is granted only to observers from the state-controlled Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Electoral monitoring organizations collected and studied video recordings from regions where falsifications were reported most frequently. The analysis of these recordings revealed that voter turnout, as measured by the count of voters in the video recordings, often differed from the official results at these polling stations, indicating fraud. Additionally, the videos captured ballot stuffing, carousel voting, and violations of vote counting, which could be signs of falsifying the final protocol. Although the observer community drew attention to these disturbing findings, the Central Election Commission (CEC) reacted negatively to the observers’ report and took no action.

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Last update on 2024-04-21 by Content manager.

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