Turkey’s election board says unstamped ballots are valid

Published April 19th, 2017 - 08:00 GMT
Supporters of the "No" march at Besiktas to submit their petition calling for the annulment of a referendum that approved sweeping constitutional changes boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, claiming blatant vote-rigging had swung the result, on April 18, 2017 in Istanbul. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)
Supporters of the "No" march at Besiktas to submit their petition calling for the annulment of a referendum that approved sweeping constitutional changes boosting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers, claiming blatant vote-rigging had swung the result, on April 18, 2017 in Istanbul. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) said Tuesday that the disputed unstamped ballots cast in Sunday’s constitutional referendum would be considered legitimate and were not sufficient reason to invalidate “the citizens’ right to vote”.

On Sunday, the YSK suddenly announced that ballots that had not been verified as genuine by election officials would be allowed, which led to a protest by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which said it would contest the result. 

“It is clear that invalidating the votes of the citizens who exercised their constitutional rights [on Sunday’s referendum] will damage the voters’ right to participate in the electoral process,” the YSK said in a statement on its website.

The YSK said that while certain election officials had failed to stamp ballots, this would not be enough to invalidate citizens’ right to vote.

According to Turkish electoral law, officials have to stamp ballots, that are then placed in stamped envelopes before being dropped in the ballot box. If not stamped, they are to be considered invalid. 

The YSK said an official complaint would be filed regarding election officials failing to stamp the ballot papers and envelopes.

On Tuesday, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) submitted a petition demanding the cancelation of Sunday's referendum to Turkey’s Supreme Board of Election. 

Sunday’s constitutional referendum resulted in a 51.41 percent victory for the Yes campaign, heralding the adoption of an 18-article bill that includes provisions for an executive presidency.

By Sibel Ugurlu


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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