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Turnout in Russian constitutional vote reached 65% as polls closed

Turnout in Russian constitutional vote reached 65% as polls closed
Almost two thirds of all Russian voters, 65 percent, cast their ballots in the referendum on a series of constitutional amendments. The July 1 in-person voting followed five days of early and even online voting across the country.

Wednesday was declared a national holiday for the purposes of the referendum, though early voting was enabled on June 25 to ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Central Electoral Commission (CIK), the nationwide turnout stood at 65 percent by the time the polls closed at 9 pm Moscow time.

WATCH: Constitutional amendments vote in Russia: RT special coverage LIVE

The highest turnout was recorded in Chechnya in the south of the country, as well as the Siberia regions of Tuva, Kemerovo and Bashkiria, each exceeding 80 percent. The lowest was in Murmansk, a Barents Sea port in the north, at only 36.18 percent.

In Moscow, the turnout stood at 53.08 percent as of 7 pm, while in St. Petersburg it exceeded 70.7 percent by the end of the day. 

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The amendments seek to update the 1993 constitution, adopted during the political and economic turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union. They have already been approved by the legislature. 

Voting was originally scheduled for April 22, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Residents of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, two cities hardest-hit by the pandemic, were given the option to vote electronically until June 30. The turnout for that vote reached 93.02 percent.

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