MOSCOW, July 1 -- Over 3,600 polling stations have opened in the Russian capital of Moscow as the country wraps up the nationwide voting on constitutional reforms, reported Sputnik news agency.
The week-long voting, whose extended span was due to facilitate social distancing during the pandemic, began last Thursday.
Five of Moscow's polling stations are located in malls and another 178 in hospitals and pre-detention facilities.
Polling stations in Moscow are equipped with video surveillance which is live broadcast on a dedicated website. Additionally, more than 2,000 observers were deployed to monitor the voting.
The 45,000-strong personnel of the polling stations was formed of members of regional and local election commissions. Citizens across Russia, including in Moscow, also had the option to sign up to vote at home amid the coronavirus outbreak, in which case a team of staff was sent to them with a ballot to cast. Both procedures have been conducted with observance of appropriate safety and hygiene measures.
Polling stations are scheduled to close at 8 pm (17:00 GMT).
Moscow is one of the two Russian regions, along with Nizhny Novogorod Region, where residents have the option to vote online on the e-government website.
The vote seeks to introduce amendments to Russia’s 1993 constitution, which will include protecting the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, setting children as a priority of Russia's domestic policy and an obligation to support and protect culture as the unique heritage of Russia's multi-ethnic nation. Other amendments will confirm that Russia safeguards historical truth and honours the efforts of the defenders of the motherland.
The amendments envision a limit of two consecutive six-year terms for the President of the Russian Federation. The provision applies to the president at the time the legal changes enter into force, not taking into account the number of terms previously served in this position, thus paving the way for President Putin to run again after his current term ends in 2024.
The proposed changes also aim to protect Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, prohibiting any attempts or calls to alienate part of its territory.
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