The draft law stipulates the preservation of the current proportional representation electoral system, which governs State Duma elections. At the same time, a number of innovations have been introduced as part of this electoral system designed to ensure representation in the State Duma of voters from all constituent entities of the Russian Federation, as well as to simplify certain election procedures.
Under the draft law, the Russian territory will be divided into 225 election districts formed on the basis of a uniform standard of voter representation per election district, which complies with the principle of equal suffrage.
The draft law also contains rules for determining the number of election districts in every Russian region, establishing these districts’ boundaries and compiling regional candidates lists.
All political parties submitting federal candidates lists are exempted from the collection of signatures, which will greatly simplify the registration of the lists.
Information on the candidates’ income and property will no longer be published by the Central Election Commission, as it is done currently, but by the political parties on their websites, which imposes the responsibility for the accuracy of the published information on the party.
The draft law regulates the participation of online media in election campaigns for the first time. Requirements set for online media largely correspond to those that apply to all non-state media outlets.
In order to increase the transparency and openness of elections, the draft law grants the right to observers to take photos and make video recordings at polling stations, and grants permission to stream live video broadcasts of voting and counting the votes across the entire territory of Russia.
Other innovations include the establishment of election campaign funds not only by political parties and their regional offices, but also by candidates. A candidate’s election campaign fund will be formed out of the parties’ contributions and the candidate’s own capital. No provisions exist for donations from individuals or organisations to candidates’ election funds. The maximum amount of expenditures from a candidate’s election fund cannot exceed six million rubles [about $198,000].
The draft law sets out the rules for processing ballots, as well as the method of allocating seats. Seats will be distributed among federal candidates lists that receive 5% or more of the votes. The methodology contains a compensating mechanism to ensure representation in the State Duma of the voters registered in each region of the Russian Federation.