In Turkey, electronic voting can only be used for voters abroad, according to Law No. 298 on Basic Provisions on Elections and Voter Registers. There is a provision in the law in this regard, but to date, electronic voting has not yet been implemented for voters registered in the voter registry abroad.
Apart from this, there is no legal regulation that allows voting by electronic voting for parliamentary, presidential and local administration elections in Turkey.
Examples Of Electronic Voting Abroad Are Being Examined
Following statements by the President of the Supreme Board of Elections, Ahmet Yener, that electronic voting could be introduced in Turkey, a working group consisting of experts from Ankara University’s Faculties of Political Sciences, Law and Engineering and the Supreme Board of Elections was formed.
The group is currently examining examples of electronic voting abroad and making preparations for the computer and software infrastructure.
After the March 31 General Elections for Local Authorities, the system to be created as a result of the work to be focused on is planned to be used first in the elections of professional organizations, cooperatives and student representatives at universities.
After the completion of the project and the elimination of deficiencies, the system is planned to be integrated into parliamentary, presidential and local government elections.
“I Conveyed To The Chairman Of The Sbe That We Can Work”
Ankara University Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Ünüvar said that following the Presidential Election held on May 28, YSK President Ahmet Yener called for the elections to be held electronically, upon which he had a meeting with Yener.
Stating that he told Yener that the university could initiate a study, Ünüvar said that preparations were started by the working group formed afterwards, and that the YSK was the executor of the process.
Necdet Ünüvar said, “We see ourselves as an institution that provides them with the necessary scientific and technical support. Preliminary work has been initiated. Reliability of elections, software and legal issues are very important, negotiations are ongoing in these three areas.”
Working On Electoral Systems, Electoral Mathematics
Prof. Dr. Orhan Çelik, Vice Rector of Ankara University and Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, also gave information about the technical work.
Stating that the working group consists of 3 dimensions, one of which is the technical part working on electoral systems and electoral mathematics, Çelik said:
“This group includes experts from the Faculty of Political Sciences and the SBE. Our second working group conducts studies on the law, scans the legislation in countries that implement elections in electronic environment, and compares it with the legislation in Turkey. In terms of legislation, we are working on what can be done in terms of legal regulations and other legislative arrangements, and in which process it can be done. Our third working group is the software dimension, the working group for the establishment of computer and software infrastructure. These three different committees are working to achieve the goal.”
“We Cannot Overcome The Elections At Universities Where We Can Start This System Immediately”
Çelik said that the work will intensify even more after the elections and that the working group has started to produce some reports and documents.
Stating that they have started working with the goal of moving the parliamentary, presidential and local elections in Turkey to the electronic environment, Çelik said, “But this goal is the last point to be reached. Before that, we aim to gradually reach this goal in the elections of professional organizations and cooperatives at all levels.”
Stating that thanks to this gradualization, the system can be tested and its deficiencies will be eliminated, Orhan Çelik said that the process will take a long time in terms of completing the project and eliminating its deficiencies, but that they are at a stage where they can start this system immediately in the elections of student representatives at universities.
Prof. Dr. Orhan Çelik said that electronic elections will provide significant advantages in terms of time cost, security infrastructure, immediate access to results, control and reliability of every stage of the election.
Emphasizing that the legal infrastructure should be prepared simultaneously, Çelik said, “The YSK or the Parliament will have to take steps on how to create the legal structure.”