Mr Smiley votes in Russia's poll

A popular internet movement is calling on young people to abandon the traditional tick or cross when voting in next Sunday's Duma election. It says smileys are a better option.

Mikhail Zaikov is the leader of an online drive to persuade people to draw smileys on the ballot sheets instead of ticks or crosses. The idea, which has been spread via mailing lists, has more than 160,000 supporters.

“Young people are not so keen on taking part in the election. I was thinking of something to inspire them. That's when a smiley came to my mind,” Zaikov said.

Under Russian law, a voter can draw any symbol in the bulletin as long as it fits the square but Igor Borisov from the Central Election Commission doesn’t exactly support the idea.

“There is a chance that ballot papers with such faces could be found invalid. If someone, for example, decides to draw a frowning face across a party’s label, how should we interpret it, as a show of support or of disapproval? So we are against this form of voting,” Borisov stated.

Meanwhile, the idea continues drawing supporters on the net. With the election scheduled for December 2, the voters still have a bit of time left to make their choice.