When a Moscow couple turned up to cast their ballots in Russia's nationwide vote on constitutional amendments, they were surprised to learn from election officials that they had already voted.
While the vote could be seen as a gauge of popular support for a package of proposed amendments to the Russian Constitution -- including one that would revert the number of terms Putin has served back to zero once his current term ends in 2024, allowing him to run for two more six-year terms -- its passage is not required for the amendments to be adopted.
According to Trofimov, the data from polling stations in the district at one point showed that 393 people had voted remotely, whereas only 34 ballots for home voting had been issued.
That a state-funded opinion polling agency would publish an exit poll in the middle of the vote was also seen by some observers as unorthodox.
In comments to the AFP news agency, Golos member Vitaly Averin said that the data "can influence the will of voters," and should be seen as part of the government's campaign to promote the vote.