Turks are voting in today’s referendum on presidential power, and tens of thousands of ballot box observers have volunteered across the country to monitor the voting process. Some are independent, while others are aligned with political parties, but all will work to deter voter fraud in what may be the republic’s most significant decision since its founding in 1923. Shortly after voting began on Sunday, there were reports that “observers detained in Diyarbakir” and “Reports of monitors being barred from their assigned polling areas in southeast Turkey” … During a phone interview on Friday, Hakan Ozturk, a board member for the opposition-affiliated Unity for Democracy (DIB), said, “We expect fraud.”
“In our country you cannot just vote and go home and wait for results,” Ozturk said. “You have to protect votes one by one, because we have witnessed fraud many times.”
Citing occurrences of ballot box stuffing and the use of fake names in past elections, he highlighted the importance of observers at polling sites, who help count votes and document results through cell phone pictures that they upload to databases.
Generally, Ozturk said, the most difficult votes to track were those of state employees, particularly members of the armed forces who are stationed away from their home towns and have more flexibility in choosing voting sites.