ballot boxes
© Reuters / Evgenia Novozhenina
Exit polls after the Russian constitutional vote show 71 percent of the country supported the proposed amendments while just over 28 percent were opposed. The amendments are major updates to Russia's most important legal document.

Exit polls were conducted at 800 polling places in 25 jurisdictions. They are based on questions asked of over 445,000 voters, 69.9 percent of which responded.

Wednesday marked the final day of in-person voting in the referendum, with turnout reaching 65 percent.

The 206 amendments range from social issues like pensions to rules for government officials. The one that has received most media attention redefines eligibility for the presidency. In theory, it would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for office two more times, potentially staying in power until 2036.

Initially planned for April 22, and postponed to July 1 due to Covid-19, the all-Russian vote took place over a week, and, for the first time ever, in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, voters were allowed to cast their ballots online.

The amendments were already approved by the legislature before being put up for a national vote.

Other changes include the regular indexation of pensions for inflation and a guaranteed minimum wage above subsistence level; the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman; a ban on top government officials from holding foreign passports; and restricting future presidents to serving only two terms. There was some controversy about the new constitution also including a mention of God, in regards to the country's heritage.

The newly-amended constitution also marks a slight shift away from the hyper-presidential system, introduced by former President Boris Yeltsin in 1993. By redistributing some powers to other government organs, both Russia's lower and upper houses of parliament now have the opportunity to propose and approve of certain officials.