Turkey's Changemakers: Each vote matters
Since the beginning of the multi-party system in 1946, electoral processes in Turkey have always been regarded with an element of doubt. In the days following the elections, newspapers have always been filled with allegations of burned, stolen and invalid ballots. Vote and Beyond (Oy ve Ötesi) was founded by Sercan Çelebi and a number of his friends, aiming to check claims of electoral fraud by monitoring ballot boxes on election day and developing a wider sense of participatory citizenship.
Those who want to be volunteers of Vote and Beyond Association and take charge on Election Day participate in a series of training seminars. Afterwards, they specify the district in which they wish to volunteer. After they complete their duties in the polling stations, they confirm the polling reports, which are transferred from all over Turkey to the “Turkey Report Confirmation” system called T3. Thus, they ensure votes are counted by people who are not returning officers, allowing citizens to take solid responsibilities in the process.
Since its inception, Vote and Beyond has served in five elections, including the presidential election. With 140,000 volunteers, it has worked to ensure transparency in elections. Vote and Beyond observers have collected 67,065 ballot reports and entered them into the T3 system.
Vote and Beyond emerged with the motto of “a more reliable election.” With the support of tens of thousands of volunteers, it advocated the supervision of the elections through civil society participation and citizens’ direct involvement in the process. It made a huge difference both in the field of civil society and in Turkish politics.