Duvar English

The head of Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) has suggested the removal of envelopes when casting votes, saying that a significant number of votes are deemed invalid because of their use.

“The practice of using envelopes was removed in many countries. The envelopes need to be removed after making ballot boxes opaque instead of transparent with a change in legal regulations,” YSK head Sadi Güven told state-run Anadolu Agency, adding that it would ensure the prevention of invalid votes.

“This needs to be fixed,” he also said.

Saying that legal regulations should also be considered to allow people to cast votes in their current locations on election day instead of being forced to go to their official residence addresses, Güven noted that the YSK is ready to introduce the practice.

Güven, whose 7-year term is about to end, is a figure criticized for the election board’s controversial decisions, with the most recent one taking place last year.

Following the March 31 local elections of last year, the YSK ruled for the re-run of Istanbul elections, prompting outrage among opposition ranks.

The application for the renewal of the elections was made by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which then suffered a major defeat when Ekrem İmamoğlu from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) secured a decisive victory in the re-run elections held on June 23 of last year.

Güven, at the time, was criticized for succumbing to pressure from the government.

Another highly controversial decision of the YSK under Güven’s management was to count unstamped ballots as valid when the counting of votes cast during April 16, 2017 constitutional referendum began.

The sudden decision to accept unstamped ballots caused an uproar in the country over fraud concerns.

During the interview, Güven dismissed all criticisms.

“We are one of the best in the world in terms of election security,” he said.