2 Nisan 2014 Çarşamba

An explanation of entries on the election result forms in Turkey

There are a number of election fraud allegations for the recent local elections in Turkey, which were held on March 30th. So far, I have been able to refute most of these allegations, which stem from a lack of familiarity with the official election result reports ("tutanak" in Turkish). I worked as a member of a ballot box committee on the election day, and I must say that the result reports were somewhat confusing. Hence, I have decided to explain in detail what each entry on the reports mean. Below you will see a closeup view of the entries at the top of a filled election result report.

The numbers from (1) to (15) are found in the original document and they correspond to the numbers on the results pages for individual ballot boxes at the CHP STS site. There are a number of unnumbered entries above entry numbered as (1), which I have assigned numbers to describe them easily.

(1) The number of voters who are recorded in the Ballot Register and who have actually voted.
(2) The number of voters WHO ARE NOT RECORDED in the Ballot Register [of this ballot box] BUT WHO, BY LAW, HAVE VOTED [in this ballot box].
(3) The total number of voters who have voted [in this ballot box]

Now you will notice that the rows numbered (1) through (3) are within a box, and row number (3) is shaded in gray, for emphasis.

(4) The number of envelopes that were found in the ballot box.
(5) If the number of envelopes was higher than the total number of voters, the number of envelopes, which were destroyed by putting them to fire according to Article 98 of Law no. 298, in order to equalize those two numbers.
(6) The number of valid envelopes.

Now we move to another box, titled "Valid Votes" including rows no. (7) through (9). Row no. (9) is shaded in gray for emphasis.

(7) The number of ballots that were counted as valid without objection.
(8) The total of ballots that were counted after objection, or that were taken into the tally.
(9) The total of Valid Votes.

Finally, there is another box on the right, titled "Invalid Votes," including rows (10) through (15). Row (15) is highlighted again in gray.

(10) The number of invalid envelopes
(11) The number of empty envelopes which contained no ballots at all.
(12) The number of envelopes [that contained some ballots for other elections, that is, county mayor and/or county council] that did not have a ballot for the mayor election for the metropolitan area.
(13) The number of ballots that were counted as invalid.
(14) The number of ballots that were not taken into consideration.
(15) The total number of invalid ballots and ballots that were not taken into the tally.

Now, for each of the three boxes, the last row must be the sum of the previous rows. Hence, the following must true for these three boxes:

(1)+(2) = (3)
(7)+(8) = (9)
(10)+(11)+(12)+(13)+(14) = (15)

If we look at the election result report above, we see:
287+4 = 291 OK
284+0 = 284 OK
4+1+1+2+0 = 7 NOT OK!

The rows (10) through (14) add up to 8, and this is not equal to 7, which we see on row (15). This is simply a misunderstanding by the ballot box committee chairman, who thought (11) and (12) meant the same thing. Hence, the equation for the rightmost box, which shows Invalid Votes must read:
4+1+2+0 = 7 OK!

Returning to the left side of the report, here is the descriptions for the unnumbered rows, which I have numbered myself for convenience. This unnumbered rows area starts with the qualification "Those which have been received from the county election committee". Below, you may find descriptions of these rows, alongside the numbers found in the report above.

(16) The total number of envelopes
(17) The number of unused envelopes
(18) The total number of ballots
(19) The number of unused ballots

Now, here we come to the confusion which results in erroneously labeling some ballot boxes as having more than %100 voter attendance. The language of these entry descriptions is vague enough that some ballot box committees included unused ballots in entry no. (14), within the "Invalid Votes" box. At this stage, please note that the report above does not make this mistake. The number of unused ballots is recorded only in row no. 19, and for the report above, it is 57.

I have just noticed that above row no. 16, there is another entry which comes with a number that has already been printed. It is "the number of voters that are recorded in the Ballot Box Register [for this ballot box]" For the report above, this number is 315.

In entry no. 2, we see there are 4 people who have not been registered in this ballot box, but who have been allowed to vote here. What happens at the ballot boxes where these four people were registered? Another question is that was there any people who were registered in this ballot box, but who served in the ballot box committees of other ballot boxes? Could this be a way to conduct election fraud? Double voting by ballot box committee members? It turns out that the election council have already taken measures to prevent this from happening. This ballot box had 315 registered voters but 5 of them were on duty at other boxes, and this information was provided in the ballot box register on election day. So, at the ballot box above, only 310 registered voters were expected to turn out to attain 100% voter attendance.

Finally, at the bottom of the picture above, we see two notes, labeled "a" and "b". They are:

a. The sum of the total of Valid Votes (9) and the total number of invalid ballots and ballots that were not taken into the tally (15) must be equal to the the total number of voters who have voted [in this ballot box] (3)

(3) = (9)+(15)

This is the most important equation that all ballot box committees try to keep in balance. This is why entries numbered (3), (9) and (15) are shaded in in gray for emphasis. I must also state that this equation only concerns cast votes. I will refer to this as the Golden Equation.

b. The total of all votes received by the political parties and independent candidates must be equal to the number of valid votes (9)

Now, we come to a final equation that takes into account, not just the cast ballots but all ballots, including the unused ones.

(18) = (19)+(3), or
(18) = (19)+(9)+(15), or
(18) = (19)+(7)+(8)+(10)+(11)+(12)+(13)+(14)

Let us now look at another report, a famous one that was RTed nearly 3000 times, namely Ankara Sincan 2061. I will show you how one simple misunderstanding has confused the election committee and wreaked havoc in all the numbers (but not the number of votes received by each party).

Looking at entries (3), (9) and (15), we immediately notice that the Golden Equation does not hold true. 173 plus 67 DOES NOT EQUAL 284. The numbers do not add up. So there is something strange going on here. We then look at the votes received by each party and their total, and see that the total is 272. We also see that independents received no votes. According to the note labeled "b" above stated that the sum of these two, namely 272, must equal entry no. (9), that is, the total number of Valid Votes, which is recorded as 173. This equation does not hold true, and this is the source of the allegation that at this ballot box, AKP's votes were deliberately increased from 85 to 185 and this is the smoking gun of the election fraud allegations. Yet, the more likely scenario is that (9) had to be 272 or 273, but the committee somehow reduced it to 100. I also would like to state that the total number of votes received by the political parties (272) is less than the total number of votes cast at this ballot box (9), that is 284, and it is in line with the general trend. Many ballot boxes have around 270-280 votes for all political parties. For all the problematic ballot boxes where attendance rate exceeds 100%, the total number of votes for all parties are ALWAYS less than the number of registered voters. Furthermore, in all these cases, the number of invalid votes is excessively high. 

For the ballot box no. 2061, the entry that confused the ballot box committee and wreaked havoc in their calculations is (14). It is 57. But this is not the only information given in this report. Just below number 57, the report states "unused ballots". If you look at the unnumbered entry, numbered by me as (19), it is 56, 1 less than 57. So, in this report, the number of unused ballots are reported TWICE, firstly on row (19) as 56, and then on row (14) as 57. Once they mistakenly place the number of unused ballots at entry (14), there is no way the ballot box committee can balance their books.

In this case, there is no need to look whether AKP fares well at these ballot boxes have or not, or wonder why on earth is the number of invalid votes excessively high. The unused ballots are included under invalid votes and we know this is not a speculation, because the report explicitly states that entry no. (14) has "unused ballots."

1 yorum:

Amicus Curiae dedi ki...

Bravo, sir. Thank you very much