The Russian presidential election had an excellent turnout, especially among young people, with many voting for the first time on March 18, Janice Atkinson, the vice president of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, said Monday.
On Sunday, Russia held its presidential election.
About three-quarters of all voters backed the re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin according to preliminary CEC figures.
“What struck me was the amount of young people that were voting, and those that were voting for the first time. A lot of proudness among those people…
“You’re going out and doing your civic duty, so I was very heartened by that. You had an excellent turnout.
“We’d love to have that in the UK. On average we get 60 to 65 per cent at the general election,” Atkinson told reporters.
Atkinson also praised the turnout in Crimea, which rejoined Russia in March 2014 via a referendum.
“It was interesting to see the turnout here. I think in the end it was about 80 per cent. Putin got a fantastic turnout in Crimea, which I think says an awful lot,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson compared the Russian presidential election to the elections in the United Kingdom, stating that the UK should adopt electronic voting systems similar to those used by Russia to save time.
“It all seemed to work very well – your electronic voting system. We don’t have that in the UK. We have a piece of paper and it’s ‘mark the box,’ and it takes hours and hours to count.
“So I think the way forward is electronic systems in my country,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson added that voter fraud could be prevented in the UK if it used Russia’s system of providing identification before casting a ballot.
The number of ballot paper processing systems was doubled to almost 13,000 for Sunday’s election, with around 1,000 touch-screen voting systems installed.
About one-third of voters used these electronic voting systems.