Most invalid votes cast at polling stations without HDP representative

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An election worker shows ballot papers with the portraits of candidates and the parties in the Turkish elections at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul on June 7, 2018, as Turkish citizens living abroad have begun voting at customs gates and foreign missions to participate in Turkey's June 24 presidential and general elections. Turkish President Erdogan is facing an unexpectedly tight contest in this month's Turkish elections, with opponents showing a new-found unity and his charismatic main rival building campaign momentum. / AFP PHOTO / Yasin AKGUL

A commission formed by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to examine the results from the June 24 elections has revealed that most of the invalid votes cast were encountered in polling stations without an HDP official, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Friday.

In the presidential and parliamentary elections held on June 24, 1,052,269 of the total votes were deemed invalid, a record in the history of the Turkish Republic. In the last general election on Nov. 1, 2015, this number was around 700,000.

According to the HDP commission’s preliminary report, there were almost 118,000 invalid votes in 26,000 ballot boxes that did not involve a ballot for the HDP, while in the ballot boxes that saw half of the invalid ballots, the HDP’s share of votes was below 10 percent.

The HDP commission also has been investigating where people who had been displaced from their homes after military operations in the Southeast began in 2016 cast their ballots on June 24. They have reportedly not yet been able to locate them.

“Is it only a coincidence that the most of the invalid votes were reported from the ballot boxes that included zero votes for us and the polling stations where we didn’t have any representative?” Ayhan Bilgen, spokesperson for the HDP, asked.

Former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Barış Yarkadaş also said the CHP had been unable to appoint representatives to a number of polling stations, which left a total of 9,700 ballot boxes left unmonitored on June 24.

“This indicates we could not check the validity of 6 percent of the votes,” Yarkadaş said during a TV program.

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