Early voting for the next Russian president took place in three cities of the United States, Russian Consul General Alexander Pisarev told Sputnik.
“We are already actively holding elections. Yesterday, a group of the consulate staff held early voting in Dallas, Texas.
“Before it, on March 5 and March 7, we held early voting in Colorado, on the outskirts of Denver and in Kansas City, Kansas.
“These were our very first elections in the United States,” Pisarev said, adding that the upcoming presidential election will be the fourth one in this consular district.
Pisarev noted that Russian nationals could vote from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. like it is done in Russia.
When asked about a turnout at the early voting, the consul general said that they usually compared a turnout with the previous elections, noting the 2016 elections to the Russian State Duma.
“In Colorado, the turnout was higher than in 2016. It’s hard to say in Kansas City, we did not do early voting there in 2016, but there was also a great interest in the elections,” he added.
Pisarev pointed out that the states of the Consulate General in San Francisco, closed by the United States, were redistributed between the missions in Seattle and Houston.
“Colorado, where we conducted the first early voting, used to be in the San Francisco consular district.
“So, we just went there and organised an early vote. In the other two states that moved to us from San Francisco’s district, Arizona and New Mexico, we did not conduct an early voting, since we do not have reliable information that there are places densely populated by Russian citizens who have the right to vote,” he stressed.
“As for those states that were distributed to Seattle, as far as I know, they plan a series of early voting, including in Los Angeles and San Francisco,” Pisarev added.
Pisarev underlined that the presidential election was taking place this year amid a very severe deterioration of relations between Russia and the U. S.
“And this is not our fault. The elections are held at a time of a very strong Russophobic attitude to everything that is being done in our country.
“That’s why, we are very closely following how our early voting is held. I can say that it was held in a civilised way.
“I think that taking into account the current Russophobic psychosis in the US, this is already good,” the consul general said.
Russia’s presidential election will take place on March 18.
There are eight candidates running for president this year: Sergey Baburin from the All-People’s Union party, Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Civil Initiative party candidate Ksenia Sobchak.
Others are Communists of Russia party chairman Maxim Suraykin, Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov, co-founder of the Yabloko party Grigory Yavlinsky and head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky.