Elections in the Soviet Union

The electoral system of the Soviet Union was based upon Chapter XI of the Constitution of the Soviet Union and by the electoral laws enacted in conformity with it. The Constitution and laws applied to elections in all Soviets, from the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the Union republics and autonomous republics, through to regions, districts and towns. Voting was claimed to be secret and direct with universal suffrage.[1] However, in practice, until 1989 voters could vote against candidates preselected by the Communist Party only by spoiling their ballots, whereas votes for the party candidates could be cast simply by submitting a blank ballot.[2][3][4][5][6]

A 1945 decree allowed for members of the Red Army stationed outside the Soviet Union to vote for both chambers of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (the Soviet of the Union and Soviet of Nationalities) in special 100,000-member districts. These were first enacted in the 1946 legislative elections and continued through the next decades as the Red Army continued its presence in the Eastern Bloc.[7]