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Moscow Election Official With Coronavirus Reportedly Worked On Voting Day

A woman casts her ballot during early voting at a polling station in Moscow on June 29.
A woman casts her ballot during early voting at a polling station in Moscow on June 29.

MOSCOW -- A member of a district election commission in Moscow says the chairwoman of the district worked when Russians voted for constitutional amendments even though she had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The unidentified commission member for Moscow's Severnoye Tushino district told the Dozhd television channel on July 2 that when the positive test results came in on July 1, the voting station was not closed and continued working for the whole day.

According to the person, all members of the election commission went through coronavirus tests on June 27-28, although the preliminary voting kicked off on June 25.

On July 1, the commission's chairwoman received her test results, which were positive, but she worked until the voting station was closed and was in contact with other members of the commission and voters.

According to the final protocol, 1,310 people voted at the station, of which more than 300 did so on July 1. It is not clear how many of them voted remotely.

Russia's opposition and many health experts have warned that it was dangerous to hold the vote as the country continues to deal with the pandemic.

Hundreds of election commission officials across Russia refused to work during the voting, fearing for their safety and that of voters.

The leader of the Physicians' Alliance movement in Russia, Anastasia Vasilyeva, told Current Time on July 2 that holding the vote amid the outbreak had added to the increase of the spread of the virus across the country.

She pointed out that medical personnel who worked with coronavirus patients had been forced to vote as well, which is against health and sanitary recommendations.

The amendments, which were approved by more than three-quarters of those who voted, number more than 200. The most notable change is a reset of Russian President Vladimir Putin's term count, opening an avenue for him to run for two more terms, which could mean Putin, who has ruled the country as president or prime minister since 1999, remains in power until 2036.

The latest official data in Russia show that 667,883 coronavirus cases have been registered in the country, including 9,859 deaths.

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