Decision to relocate ballot boxes will affect HDP voters - HDP MP

Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) on Saturday reviewed the requests submitted from local election boards and decided to transfer ballot boxes in 19 provinces to other locations for the upcoming elections on Jun. 24, news site Duvar reported.

According to Duvar, some voters, mainly in rural areas, will have to cast their votes 5 km. away from their places of residence due to the decision of the YSK, which did not take into account the total number of voters affected, while reviewing the requests. 

After meeting the head of the YSK, Sadi Guven on Saturday morning, Mithat Sancar, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member of parliament for the southeastern province of Mardin told reporters that the decision might affect 270,000 people, majority of which are HDP voters. According to Sancar, since even a marginal difference such as 0,1 percent is important for the presidential election, YSK’s decision might affect the outcome of the poll. 

If the HDP fails to pass the 10-percent threshold in the parliamentarian elections, many of the seats in the mainly Kurdish southeast will likely go to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which traditionally comes second place in the region.

“The second problem is the election threshold. The share of HDP voters among this 270,000 voters is very high. If those voters do not go to the places where the ballot boxes are to be transferred and cast their votes -which is a possibility- or change their votes because of feeling intimidated, then this will mean a serious intervention on elections,” Sancar said. 

Sancar noted that security concerns were said to be the main reason behind the decision to relocate ballot boxes and reminded that the voters in the same areas had been able to cast their votes in their own villages in November 2015, when there were ongoing armed  clashes in the region. 

In 2015, the YSK overruled ballot box relocation demands made by local election boards due to security concerns in the country's eastern and southeastern provinces ahead of November 1 snap elections.

Sancar also said that tilting the balance in favor of the AKP was the real reason for relocation and called the leaders of other opposition parties to speak up against this unfairness.