MOSCOW, May 20 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Federation Council has approved several bills seeking to change laws on elections as concerns improvement of organization of elections and referendums, further development of procedures governing collection of signatures and verification of candidacy lists, as well as those on more precise review of nominees.

Among the new legal provisions are those permitting voting by regular or electronic mail; the respective procedure is to be established by the Central Election Commission. The amendments also envisage that voting may be organized outside polling stations.

As to collection of signatures and candidacy lists, the amendments aim to improve the respective procedures; up to 50% of voters’ signatures may be collected distantly via a governmental Internet site. The candidacy lists are to be formalized by commissions responsible for the elections; voters are to personally fill the model documents as to his or her surname, name, and patronymic name.

The new provisions also set forth the procedures governing the adjustment of the borders of constituencies if required; regional authorities are to have the right to postpone elections in pre-emergency or emergency situaitons.

Certain changes are introduced to prohibit persons, who have been earlier convicted of a range of about 50 medium-gravity crimes.

It is also envisaged that a pilot project on voting in “digital constituencies” 2020 is to be continued in 2020. The voters are to submit their applications via the governmental website. The regional Moscow distant electronic voting project is also to be extended to the elections to be held in the city in 2020 through 2021; the respective applications are to be submitted to a regional website on state and municipal services.

The amendments are to be introduced to a range of laws on elections and local governments.

The bill has been already approved by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament.