Monday, January 22, 2024 by Cassie B.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called out America’s rigged presidential elections in comments at a recent meeting with municipal educators in Moscow.
When he was questioned about voting in four former Ukrainian territories that were annexed by Russia in 2022, the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, he took the opportunity to draw attention to everything that was wrong with the 2020 American presidential elections, which he cited as an example of how democracy should not work.
“It’s probably possible to falsify anything. Just like the previous elections in the U.S. were falsified through voting by mail. Well, it’s clear what voting by mail is. They bought ballots for $10, wrote them in, and without any supervision from observers, tossed them into mailboxes. And there you go,” he said.
He added: “Democracy is when people express their will.”
Putin was referring to the highly controversial changes to election rules that were implemented in 2020 on the pretense of helping people vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most contentious aspects was permitting mail in ballots, which makes it far easier to cast fraudulent votes than in-person voting. Donald Trump challenged the election and accused it of being “rigged,” partly due to mail-in ballots that could not be audited, along with a number of irregularities seen across several states.
Putin is currently running for a new six-year presidential term in an election that opponents have claimed is undemocratic. Critics say that the election is not a fair contest because the 71-year-old leader has unchecked power. The Russian constitution was amended in 2020 to raise the presidential term from four to six years and provide him with a clean slate to run again by cancelling out the previous terms he has served.
Moreover, most of his genuine opponents are in exile, imprisoned or dead. Alexei Navalny, his main rival for the presidential seat, is currently serving more than 30 years in prison on questionable charges. An independent politician who announced she planned to challenge Putin on an anti-war platform, Yekaterina Duntsova, saw her candidacy rejected within three days of her application on the grounds that she made multiple mistakes on her application form.
Critics also claim that the electronic voting used in the country makes it easier for authorities to manipulate people’s votes in favor of Putin without being detected.
Putin is widely expected to win a fifth term in office in his country’s March elections, which would make him the longest serving leader of Russia since Josef Stalin. Winning in March would keep him in the presidency until 2030, at which point he could still serve a further six years should he decide to run again.
While many of the criticisms of Putin are fair, his assessment of the American voting system in the last election was painfully accurate.
A survey conducted by the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports revealed that one out of every five voters who used mail-in ballots during the 2020 elections admitted to committing some type of voter fraud. For example, 21 percent admitted that they filled out a ballot, either fully or partially, for a family member or friend – something that is illegal in every state. Seventeen percent of voters admitted that they voted in a state in which they were no longer a permanent resident, while 8 percent of respondents said that a family member, friend or organization offered them money or a reward for voting in the election.
Overall, 43 percent of voters used mail-in ballots in the election, which is the highest percentage to do so in the nation’s history.
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