Kremlin reapproves pandemic-inspired three-day voting window for presidential election

The Russian government has approved a three-day voting window for its presidential elections in 2024.

Ella Pamfilova, chairwoman of the Russia Central Election Commission, said that although the extended election window was originally conceived as a pandemic accommodation in 2020, its “other benefits” have made keeping it desirable.

“Three-day voting is already becoming a tradition in our electoral system,” Pamsilova said, according to a translation from The Moscow Times. “It was first used during the [Covid-19] pandemic, but over time the majority of voters came to like the format because of its other advantages.”

RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SET FOR MARCH WITH PUTIN EXPECTED TO WIN ANOTHER TERM

Members of a local electoral commission empty a ballot box at a polling station after the last day of the three-day parliamentary election, in Moscow. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian Parliament has designated March 17 of next year as election day, when President Vladimir Putin is expected to easily retain power.

Members of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a decree setting the date.

Extensions to the national voting window have been criticized as a risk to election integrity, necessitating ballots being kept safe overnight and complicating the jobs of poll watchers.

RUSSIAN ELECTIONS ARE ‘COSTLY BUREAUCRACY’ THAT ‘DON’T HAVE TO BE HELD,’ PUTIN SPOKESMAN SAYS

Moscow Russia

People walk on a bridge, with the Kremlin’s towers and Moscow’s International Business Centre (Moskva City) in distance, in central Moscow. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Although Putin, 71, hasn’t yet announced his intention to run again he is widely expected to do so in the coming days, now that the date has been set. He will likely run as an independent. 

In 2021, Putin signed into law a change to the country’s constitution that will allow him to run for two more six-year terms, granting him the chance to remain in power until 2036.

He has held continuous positions as president or prime minister since 1999. He has been president since 2012, with his previous stint as president running from 2000 to 2008.

Vladimir Putin voting Russia election

Russian President Vladimir Putin shows his passport to a member of a local electoral commission as he arrives to cast his ballot in a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms at a polling station in Moscow. (ALEXEI DRUZHININ/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

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Press secretary Dmitry Peskov remarked to Russian media in August that democratic elections have become a “costly bureaucracy” that serves no purpose due to the supposed widespread support for Putin.

“Elections are what a democracy demands and Putin himself decided to hold them, but theoretically, they don’t even have to be held,” Peskov told state media outlet RBK.

He added, “Because it’s clear that Putin will be elected. That’s completely my personal opinion.” 

Fox News Digital’s Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.

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