Turkish electoral authorities remove key vote security measure

With four days to go until snap elections on June 24, Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) have decided to remove the necessity for votes to be stamped by ballot box officials to count, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet wrote.

The YSK wrote in a recent circular that envelopes required the official stamp to be considered valid except in cases where there was no stamp from ballot box officials but that the YSK emblem, watermark and stamps from the district electoral board were visible.

Twitter user Mahir Durmaz explained that the ballot box officials’ stamps were key to the security of the vote:

“The first thing done in the morning (of the election) is the stamping; the votes are counted three times. The count and checking procedures are recorded in a log. Then if these types of (unstamped) votes come, they are separated as void, and if someone appeals they can go to the YSK and there will be concrete evidence such as ‘400 votes and envelopes were stamped and counted three times’,” he said.

“There are two critical procedures: Don’t sign the logbook like a sheep at 7 or 8 in the morning (the most common mistake, don’t sign it blank), and log everything done, whether proper or not, into the logbook, as if you leave it to the end there could be wolfishness.”

With the election looking to be extremely close, opposition activists are becoming ever more worried about the possibility of attempts to stuff ballot boxes.