MOSCOW, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The voter turnout was up in 77 of Russia's 84 regions and a man was shot to death during a demonstration in one of them, election officials said.
Golos, Russia's lone independent election watchdog, said its monitors observed widespread manipulation with absentee ballots to increase the turnout.
Leonid Ivlev, deputy head of the Central Elections Commission, said early results indicated turnout Sunday topped previous regional elections, exceeding 50 percent in Belgorod alone, The Moscow Times reported Monday. Voters sifted through a total of nearly 100,000 candidates in the regional polling.
The elections, seen by analysts as a rehearsal before the 2011 parliamentary vote and the 2012 presidential election, were marred by a shooting death in Dagistan, the elections commission said. Officials said Abdulmuslim Nurmagomedov, head of the Khadzhalmakhi settlement, was shot during a demonstration involving about 500 residents after 4,500 ballots were stolen, a regional police spokeswoman said.
"The incident happened near the building of a local election committee in the settlement of Khadzhalmakhi," the spokeswoman told the Times.
Mayoral and legislative elections were conducted in several regions, officials said.
The United Russia Party was poised to sweep most of the elections after officials refused to register many opposition candidates on technicalities, the Times reported.
"We are content with the results of the elections," Tatyana Voronova, a United Russia parliamentary official, told the Times Sunday.
Leaders of the Communist Party complained that United Russia turned the elections into a "dirty quarrel."