Finally, a system to monitor elections

Finally, a system to monitor elections

We are not bound to the non-transparent SEÇSİS anymore. We have “Oy ve Ötesi,” (“Vote and Beyond”) and T3.  

The SEÇSİS is a computer aided voter roll system that was launched in 2004. The structure of SEÇSİS is one that is open to doubt. The system is such that after the votes are counted at voting centers, the protocols are submitted to district election boards. The data are entered into SEÇSİS monitors there. We do not know the process in between, from the moment these protocols depart the polling centers until the data are released through the computer. It is a dark part of the process.

There is no opportunity to monitor SEÇSİS. If the people at the computer stage tamper with the data, it might not be possible to detect this. 

In other words, the “pillar of our democracy” has been placed on an unstable platform. 

Last year, it was “Vote and Beyond” that trained thousands of volunteers to be observers at polling stations and organized them. It pointed out the urgency of a solution. 

Now, there is new software named T3. One of the founders of “Vote and Beyond,” Sercan Çelebi, has helped develop it. “During the election process, there is part of the election day when we are disconnected from the system. We cannot observe what is happening once the protocols are handed in. We figured out what we needed is an alternative program for SEÇSİS. One of our volunteers, Sina, developed it. Its name is T3. Our “Vote and Beyond” volunteers will scan the signed protocols and enter the data to the system. We will process them in T3. Minimum three people independent of each other should enter the data for the T3 processes. Thus, we will be able to prevent our own negligence, manipulations and mistakes. 

Well, I asked, “There are critic provinces and districts where the vote difference between the first party and the second party varies between 0 and 3 percent; the slightest change in votes will reflect as a change in the number of deputies in the parliament. What will you do in these places?”

He said, “We have set up the entire system according to this. In 45 provinces and 162 districts, in a total of 106,000 polling stations, we will have 120,000 people.We will have 12,000 people responsible for school polling centers. We set up our offices near big scanners. Our volunteers will rush to the machines with their signed protocols. They will scan them and send them to us. After the accumulation of 30,000 to 40,000 protocols, we will make a T3 call to everybody, saying, ‘These are the protocols, let us all enter the figures into T3.’ We will enter correct data simultaneously with SEÇSİS. We will be able to test the correctness of SEÇSİS. We think we will be able to get election results with T3 in 12 hours. We tried it in the presidential elections; we processed it. We have detected that at Kağıthane, in Istanbul, 1,600 votes were differently processed. CHP has filed suit using our records. This is the first election corruption case accepted by courts in the history of Turkey. Finally the 1,600 votes did not change anything but there are places where they of course will.”

As you know, on election day and night, “fantastic incidents” happen, such as cats entering transformers, the power being cut and doors accidentally being locked by party officials. These things do happen and they create serious question marks in minds… Well, naturally. 

Doubt is bad; it is possible to minimize it with “Vote and Beyond.” Instead of complaining, let us take our places as volunteers at the polling stations and computers. In these modern times, it is good not to leave everything to the state. Let us use this opportunity… Come on…