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Democracy and Citizenship: Election Experiences in Turkey

by MarioninTurkey (7/25/2007)

e-State: Turkey well and truly in the computer age: 2007

e-State: Turkey well and truly in the computer age: 2007

In Spring 2007 the polling lists were posted again.  Remembering the fun and games I had last time, I resolved to make certain I was on the list.  Newspapers encouraged every citizen to check with their muhtar, or to go on the internet to check.  All we had to do was enter our Citizenship Number in the website, and our electoral listing would be revealed.


I sat in front of my screen and clicked away.  Lo and behold – there I was.  Correct surname!  Correct everything.  A registered voter in Kadıköy province.  Just to be sure, I went to visit my friendly muhtar.  This time no washing lines outside.  He had clip files neatly laid out on a table, one for each letter of the alphabet.  “J” – it had me!  In black and white!


In the five years between elections Turkey has made great strides in computerizing all sorts of government and local government services.  The e-State often really works!


In the run up to elections, I thought it would be a good idea to have in my hand the polling card.  Just to be safe (I am English, too, after all).  Again, it didn’t come through the mail, so I went last week to the muhtar.  He looked my name up on the computer to find which ballot box I would be using.  On the table were sets of polling cards, neatly arranged with elastic bands round them, for each ballot box.  There was no pile for 4365, my box!


The muhtar reassured me, box 4365 is in the post.  He sized me up as someone who is computer literate. He told me I could print my own card off from the Election Committee’s website, a bit like printing your own boarding card when you check-in on line.  He wrote down the address.  He also took great pains to explain to me where the school for ballot box number 4365 was, even though I told him I knew it well as we had done a two day book fair there.


At home, once more I held my breath as I typed my Citizenship Number into the computer.  Once more I was thankful for the projects to computerize Turkey’s records as my polling details appeared on the screen.  A few more clicks later and I had the solid proof of a piece of paper in my hand.  I was going to be able to vote!

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Finding the right place to vote : 2002
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Experiences on Sunday

1. Finding the right place to vote : 2002
2. e-State: Turkey well and truly in the computer age: 2007
3. Experiences on Sunday

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