While there are only two months left until the general election in June, vote-rigging incidents during previous elections have increased concerns over the security of the ballot boxes and the fate of the votes on the Supreme Election Board (YSK) list as millions of citizens failed to check whether they will be able to vote or not. Rigging claims were frequent during past elections, although no major vote-rigging has been made public yet which might change the results. Some unused ballots were found in the trash, some people were claimed to have voted twice and there were claims that some voted using the names of dead people. Still others were not able to vote as their names were not on the list specifically drawn up for voters. Power outages took place in 41 provinces on the night of the local elections on March 30, 2014. Allegations of election fraud were rampant following the local elections, with observers documenting many discrepancies between the numbers recorded at polling stations and those finally entered into the YSK’s computer-based Elector Record System (SEÇSİS). More interestingly, a cat that allegedly got inside an electrical transformer was held responsible by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for at least one of the power cuts that occurred in 22 provinces during vote tallying on the evening of March 30.
However, experts on the electoral process say that one of the most important steps during elections to protect the voting rights of citizens is checking the names of the people on the YSK list. Experts say that hundreds of thousands of names have gone missing from the YSK list during YSK’s list updates from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) and because citizens did not update their new addresses with the district registry offices.
According to an age range comparison between TurkStat and YSK lists, there are 1,785,602 names across Turkey missing from the YSK list. In addition, there are a further 682,161 individuals who were unable to vote due to not having the proper address in the Address-based Population Registration System (ADNKS). Those who did not see their names on the YSK list on its website or the neighborhood offices needed to visit these offices before March 27 with proof of their residential address in order to be eligible to vote on June 7.