Call to arms over ballot box committees

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18 Mayıs 2018 Cuma, 16:08
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Neither the candidates’ rally performances, nor their pledges, nor anything else. In these days
in which we find ourselves there is no more pressing matter than ensuring that there are no
empty places on the six-person ballot box committees on the morning of 24 June.
Moreover, the time to do this is very limited. Until 1 June.
Something is escaping attention as time flies by:
This election will not only be conducted under a state of emergency, but under “new” rules
that will work/be made to work in the AKP’s favour. And if the opposition parties – with the
exception of the MHP – do not engage in preparation with an eye on this system, there is a
high probability of all ballot box committees throughout Turkey operating under the AKP’s
influence and shadow.
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I have spoken to groups of volunteer citizens who are grappling and troubling themselves
with this affair. They want to make their voices heard. Even if the business seems a little
technical, it must be got across.
Let us approach it step by step.
- The manner in which ballot box committees will be formed, and their duties and powers,
has been set out in Supreme Election Council circular number 135. Accordingly, ballot box
committees will consist of one chair, six basic and six substitute members. Political parties
will supply five members.
- The criterion here involves participation in the last election. The Good Party is not entitled
to supply ballot box committee members. And this basic piece of information is little known.
- Let us come to the key point: If certain political parties do not or cannot nominate members
for the ballot box committee, the sub-province electoral board can appoint somebody from
the party that obtained the highest vote in place of that party’s member.
- On the election day, the presence of four people at each ballot box is sufficient for the
election to be deemed to have commenced. One chair and three members. And the ballot box
chairs will consist of people who have been appointed for the first time. The first time.
Who will fill the places?
Two question marks that have arisen for the first time under circular number 135:
- Let us say that, early in the morning, four people have assembled being the chair, the
appointed member, the AKP member and the MHP member. Is the ballot box committee
chair to say, “There are four of us so let’s take the oath and begin?”
- Or are they themselves to fill the two vacant places left over by the four people?”
Our readers in Üsküdar give an example relating to circular number 135 from their sub-
province: The 1 November 2015 election results: AKP 47.9%, CHP 33.7%, MHP 9.5%, HDP
6.5% and SP 0.8%.
According to these results, the five parties entitled to supply ballot box committee members
are the AKP, MHP, CHP, HDP and SP. There were a total of 1019 ballot boxes in Üsküdar in

the referendum. On the assumption that this number will remain the same, the alliance-
forming AKP and MHP will supply two members for 1019 ballot boxes.
The CHP will have no problem in nominating basic and substitute members for 1019 ballot
boxes, either.
Now we come to the most critical point. The crux of the matter:
Taking the example of Üsküdar, it appears doubtful if the HDP and SP will find a sufficient
number of volunteers for the 1019 ballot box committee memberships in full. Let us say that
they only notify the sub-province electoral board of members for 519 ballot boxes, then,
according to this very circular, the Üsküdar Sub-Province Electoral Board will be able to
appoint members from the AKP to 600 ballot boxes.
Is there 100% confidence that reliable counting and tallying procedures will be conducted
under such a composition?
Willingness is called for
So, what is the solution?
The solution is to adopt the “democratic” approach in two examples that are fresh in
memories.
Those of the transfer of fifteen MPs from the CHP to the Good Party in the interests of
democracy and the indiscriminate giving of signatures to those who wished to stand for
presidency with 100,000 signatures.
Without drawing a distinction between parties. And here, this will amount to the opposition
party with the strength to do so making appointments without drawing distinctions of identity
and ideology to ensure there are no vacant places on ballot box committees.
The readers say, “A CHP member serving as a ballot box committee member in place of a
committee member the HDP or SP were unable to nominate does not turn them into HDP or
SP members” and give the following explanation:
“When acting as witnesses in previous elections, we did not concern ourselves with which
party’s witness card we carried. The only thing that concerned us was protecting our vote.
We need to exhibit willingness without discriminating over party and identity in view of the
ballot box committee memberships that may be vacant on 24 June. Otherwise, there is a
strong possibility that AKP members will be appointed to thousands of vacant ballot box
places.”
It is theoretically possible on election day for there to be a composition under which AKP
officials are in the majority on ballot box committees throughout the country.
As to bringing a fairer equation to bear on this possibility, there remain fourteen days.

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