Political Party Portal (SİPPORT)
Supreme Election Council

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Sharing information and documents about elections with political parties (parties) has become the subject of legislation with 298 numbered Law on Basic Provisions of Elections and Electoral Registers. Due to lack of any legislative regulations, until 2010, only electoral registers used to be shared with parties in magnetic or paper environment. On the other hand, information and documents with significant importance such as candidate information of parties, ballot-box committee officers, numbers of province/district ballot-boxes/voters throughout Turkey, information of ballot-boxes where voters will cast their votes, minutes of ballot-box results, were not being shared with parties in any conditions. Until 2000, voters lists used to be prepared in district election boards (DEBs) by typing and these lists used to multiplied and delivered to parties upon request in paper environment. With the amendment of law in 2000, voters lists registered to offline Elections Informatics System (SEÇSİS) Central Database were for the first time delivered to parties eligible to participate Parliamentary General Elections in 3rd November 2002 in magnetic environment (CD-DVD) by SEC or DEBs in return of signature. This continued until 25th term Parliamentary General elections, which were held in 2015. The results of elections were being accessed to central database as offline by DEBs in electronic environment since 2007 but they were not shared with parties neither in magnetic nor electronic environments due to absence of legal provisions until 2010. In 2010, 298 numbered Law brought legislative arrangement to online and simultaneously sharing of results of elections with parties. With this arrangement that composed the first phase of the Project, Ballot Box Results Sharing System (SSPS) was engaged for headquarters of parties, upon their request, to monitor simultaneously and to keep in computer environment the ballot-box scaled electoral results that were online sent to SEC by DEBs. SSPS was first used in Parliamentary General Elections of 2011 following completion of voting process. In the Local Administrations Elections (2014), again as a first, signed ballot-box result minutes that were scanned and transferred to electronic environment, were simultaneously shared with parties. In the following years, works related with candidates submitted by parties and ballot-box committee officers were also integrated into project and along with electoral registers and election results, parties could also able to achieve their own candidate and ballot-box committee officers' information in electronic environment. Thus, parties have the opportunity to see change of missions, objections and differences deriving from objections and other reasons. All these situations mentioned above caused serious speculations both among media and parties towards elections and many objections were raised to SEC. Thus, by taking the opinions of all parties, it was decided to initiate Political Party Portal (SİPPORT) service to overcome all these major problems and issues by SEC. This decision of SEC has indirectly related to approximately 58 million voters living in the country and abroad, public and media. Therefore, this initiative become one of the most important implementation layers of SEÇSİS that is one of the most important e-government projects of Turkey.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
This project has been realized with the purpose of sharing all kinds of electoral works and transactions undertaken by 1161 provincial and district election boards throughout Turkey within an election cycle (electoral calendar) under the roof of transparent, safe, objective and fast software automation and presenting such information to the inspection of political parties. With SİPPORT, which has been established for safer and faster recording of sharing process of all kinds of information, documents, electoral results and minutes subject to presidential elections, parliamentary general elections, local administrations general elections and referendum with political parties, mukhtar area lists for public review, ballot-box voters lists, ballot-box committee officials of political parties, province-district mukhtar ballot-box information; ballot-box result information issued by district election boards on election day, scanned wet signed counting tally sheets, ballot-box result minutes (including ballot-box result correction minutes) and election results consolidation minutes are presented to the service of headquarters of political parties that participate to the elections and by maintaining active participation of political parties at every stages of election, the most important components objectivity, transparency and trust principles have been strengthened. Besides, by presenting the elections to inspection of political parties, public reliance subject to electoral results have been increased while the objections have been minimized.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
First, within the scope of the amendment of law in 2010, Directorate General of Electoral Register (DGER) offered a project to SEC involving headquarters of parties that participate to elections simultaneously monitor ballot-box election results online sent to SEC by DEBs and to keep such information in computer environment at the same format upon their request. As the result of software and infrastructure works undertaken within very short period of time, SSPS was opened to service and was first used in 24th Term Parliamentary General Elections (2011). Following completion of casting of votes throughout Turkey and starting of issuing of votes in result minutes arranged by ballot-box committees to SEÇSİS, headquarters of parties could able to monitor the results of elections and could able to keep the data at ballot-box base in computer environment at EXCEL or CSV format. In the following years, SGKM presented another suggestion to SEC in order to provide easier and faster accession of other information that have critical information such as candidate information of parties, ballot-box committee officials, ballot-box voter lists, ballot-box results minutes. In December 2014, the commission composed by SEC decided the formation of SİPPORT with the purpose of providing all kinds of information and documents subject to elections in electronic environment to parties. In this portal, accessible with user name and password, recording of all kinds of transactions belonging to party users was decided (2015/481 numbered decision of SEC). Transactions of access, display and storage undertaken by headquarters of parties are kept under record with IP number and username by DGER. Services delivered to parties: -Informing Service: Decisions, regulations, notifications and news are published in panels in the home page. Thus, the period of transmission of important news to parties has been minimized. -Web Service Module: It was first used in Local Administrations Elections (2014) and Presidential Elections (2014 ). It is the module written in Soap web service architecture in which before elections, information subject to general elections parameters, electoral district, province/district/mukhtar area, penal institutions, custom gates, diplomatic missions and data subject to ballot-box results issued by DEBs on election day, are taken by parties. Methods, necessary parameters and all kinds of information related with use, are presented to parties before elections. -SSPS: It was open to service in 2011 and integrated with SİPPORT in 2015. On the night of elections, after completion of casting of votes throughout country, all ballot-boxes in custom DEBs, DEBs and overseas election board are opened and the votes are counted. The results of DEBs (the number of voters written in ballot-box voters lists, the number of voters who cast their votes, the numbers of valid and invalid votes) issued in SEÇSİS and "Ballot-Box Committee Counting and Tabulation Sheet", "Ballot-Box Result Minute" with QRcode signed by ballot-box committees (including ballot-box result correction minutes) and together with scanning of "Combination Minutes", are transmitted to headquarters of parties in every three minutes. The results are saved in computers of users in EXCEL or CSV format. Parties also may access result minutes by File Transfer Protocol and store these minutes in PNG format. SSPS, as web based software, smoothly operates in all current web browser without the necessity of any installation. -KOKPİT: It is a module that presents current distributions of the votes taken from domestic, overseas and custom gates to parties with numerical and visual aspects and exposes the big picture related with elections in an easier and more effective way. In the scanning panel, data may be achieved subject to scanning condition of ballot-box result minutes at domestic, overseas and custom gates.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
SİPPORT, is considered as a first with its characteristics of being developed for providing information to political parties in electronic environment which purified from bureaucratic processes, in very short time. Following the completion of casting of votes and the results of ballot-boxes entered to SEÇSİS, result minutes, counting and tabulating tally sheets and combination minutes scanned from 1161 districts are sent to headquarters of political parties in a very short period such as approximately 3 hours. Thus, elections are completed under the principles of transparency, accountability and controllability principles. Another innovative approach that enhances the success of this initiative is, parties having a significant electoral data in their own headquarters. This situation also cause the decrease the numbers of objections raised against election results. Furthermore, parties informing their own electorates, increased public trust towards elections. Along with this, parties, which dynamically participate to process, are able to continuously make demands for the improvement of initiative. Amendments in application do not cause any additional costs in the informatics infrastructures of parties. The most important lesson SEC has taken from this initiative, is that, sometimes success can be achieved with simple and cheap solutions without the necessity of huge investments.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
This program is being executed by Directorate General of Electoral Register (DGER) operating in Ankara within the framework of Supreme Election Council. DGER has a large database consisting of data related with electoral works of 81 provincials and 1080 district election boards (DBEs). With election results coming from DBEs, thanks to coordination of DGER with below mentioned public institutions and offices, the most updated and accurate data is being obtained and these data with different format are combined in a single database and thus this large data is presented to the service of parties: 1.Address Registry System and Identity Sharing System of General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality for continuously updating of electoral register and obtaining information on voters over the age of 18. 2.Directorate General of Judicial Records and Statistics for determination of those who are not allowed to be candidate in elections. 3.The Ministry of Family and Social Policies Disabled and Elderly Services General Directorate for determination of voters with visual or orthopedic disability. 4.Ministry of National Defense for determination of voters under military service and military students. 5.Court of Cassation Prosecutor's Office for the information of political parties' organizations in 81 provincials. 6.Ministry of Justice for determination of individuals who have restriction orders by the courts according to related jurisdiction and individuals who are in penal institutions and those who are convicted with inattentive offenses and whose sentences have been finalized. This initiative has been designed by DGER in order to serve for headquarters of all political parties, which are considered eligible to participate to elections. This initiative of which target group is political parties, is in fact closely related with 58 millions of voters both living inside the country and overseas, public and media as well.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
At the first stage, SEC overviewed its own sources and determined the necessary needs, and developed its hardware, software and BT infrastructure for maintaining delivery of service properly. Decision was made on delivering SİPPORT service via internet in order to provide easy access for parties. Along with design and infrastructure works, for every election period, a circular is being published in which main methods and principles are determined, and sent to headquarters of parties eligible to attend elections. Expert teams of institution made meetings with informatics experts of parties and exposed their work flow and requirements. Within this framework, considering each party would prefer to access to this application, a software has been designed in line with principles of safety and confidentiality and necessary network infrastructure has been prepared. Network infrastructure of the initiative was established at internet layer of the institution and in safe architecture. The application which gives service via a special line which can only be accessed by party users, is closed to unauthorized access. With special measures taken against cyber safety threats, the sustainability of access is being achieved. After the institution personnel tested the application, testing environment was opened to access of parties on 12th March 2015. Following the completion of testing transactions and the correction of deficiencies, the application has started to serve parties. The first evaluation meeting was held on 29th May 2015 with technical staff of parties on how the information and documents related to the 25th Term Parliamentary General Elections would be delivered to headquarters of parties via SİPPORT, and what kind of network infrastructure they would have to access to application. In the meeting, criteria determined by SEC for parties on the issue of accessing to SİPPORT were announced and parties were asked to meet below mentioned criteria: •To make ready their own informatics infrastructure, to take necessary safety measures and parties have to provide minimum internet speed declared by SEC. •Each party, which intend to access application has to inform DGER about the information of its headquarters and of the number of end computers that will be determined by YSK, to be used in this center. Up to today, totally 23 parties applied for using this service. •Headquarters of parties may determine 10 users for using SSPS, and one user for each of Web Service and FTP services. Each of these users are also considered as users responsible of communication in case of a technical problem prior or on election date. Up to now, approximately 100 users reported by the parties have been registered on the system. •The list of users that will access application online, is notified by Users Request Form prepared by DGER. Parties have to fill these forms and they should be delivered to DGER after sealed and signed. Parties and their users are held responsible for the safety of user name and passwords that were randomly composed, delivered to them in return of signature in a special envelope. •SEC records and monitors all processes in access to application. Thanks to the documents published on SİPPORT, the parties are continuously informed about each module and operation. Furthermore, with e-mail groups composed of party users and authorized personnel of the Institution, parties are also informed about the issues of electoral process and innovations of application. Since Institution’s current infrastructure has been used in the preparation process of hardware, network and safety infrastructure, an extra cost has not emerged. The approximate cost of the project, including both software development process and scanners (number of 823) used by DEBs, is about 577.000 US Dollars.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Those who participated to analysis, design and implementation of project are: HAVELSAN A.Ş: The Company was established in 1982 with the purpose of meeting the software engineering needs of Turkish Military Forces and has software solutions and products based on advanced technology in the field of Defense, Security and Informatics and a pioneer system integrator company both in domestic and international arena. Havelsan worked together with the personnel of Institution in composing network and security infrastructure of SİPPORT project. Havelsan also developed Election Informatics System (SEÇSİS), which is one of the most important e-government projects of Turkey. Siren Informatics: The Company was established in 2010 and specialized on informatics technologies sector, industrial automation systems with Oracle Web Center solution partnership, with staff especially expert on web and mobile applications, co-worked with institution personnel during software development process. Political Parties: Representatives and political experts of political parties that are active throughout Turkey, have participated development, testing and implementation processes of project with their suggestions and opinions. Since the application is open to the access of political parties, parties may compose dynamic demands over the project whenever they consider necessary. In addition, the proposals of the political parties for the development of the project is also immediately assessed and the project is continuously improved.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
•SİPPORT initiative was resulted in sharing all information and documents to the political parties with necessary ICT tools, especially including election results and electoral registers. Elections are at the heart of democracy, when conducted with integrity of all political parties, enhancing the confidence of public to the elections. Since this initiative promote higher the rate of transparency, controllability and auditability in elections of Turkey, objections related with election results and other transactions decreased from 2011 to date. •All kinds of information and documents related to the election are regularly and transparently recorded by political parties. Political parties are allowed to compose demand electronically over SİPPORT, not only electoral registers and election results but also other information and documents, which have great importance related to the elections, such as; temporary/final candidate lists, information about the numbers of province-district- mukhtar ballot-box and voters, domestic and overseas ballot-box voter lists, ballot-box committees of the customs gates and domestic and overseas. •Ballot-box result minutes (including result correction minutes) which have been scanned by district election boards and accessed by headquarters of political parties, are being stored with versioning method and thus, political parties may instantly monitor any changes in results. •In analyzing the success of the project, it can be said that the overall objective was realized not only in terms of accessing the data electronically, but in terms of also storing these big data in local system of the political parties. The political parties have had a big data on the elections held between 2011 and 2015. For instance, only information related with 2015 last parliamentary general elections is evaluated, political parties had the possibility of accessing and recording the following data: Totally, 56.949.009 voters’ data, registered both in domestic and overseas, Data on 175.006 ballot-boxes, which have been established in domestic 50.070 locations, Data on 425 ballot-boxes which have been established in overseas 113 diplomatic missions, Data of 1.087.773 ballot-box committee officials assigned in domestically, Data of 7.681 ballot-box committee officials assigned overseas ballot-boxes, Total of 781.971 scanned ballot-box result minutes with original signature, counting and tabulating sheets, and combination minutes. As it is seen, even in recent parliamentary elections, political parties had the opportunity to access and record data on votes of 47.840.231 voters, and their distribution among political parties throughout Turkey in a short time of approximately 3 hours.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
During the development of this project, the most significant problem encountered were the differences in informatics infrastructures of the political parties. Considering the problems they face with their service suppliers, different technologies they use while purchasing internet service, the connection problems, specifications of the computers they use, the Institution considered the access of political parties from all kinds of platforms without the need of further investment as the main priority. Problems political parties face with, were tried to be eliminated with the support of personnel of the Institution. In case any problems occur on the subject of accessing data, preparations were made to provide such data in magnetic environment. Since the project is continuously developed, political parties continuously develop their informatics infrastructure in line with the informatics infrastructure of SEC, personnel using the application is composed of individuals with advanced informatics knowledge. Thus, all problems subject to access are solved separately. Some political parties are unable to provide informatics infrastructure necessary for accessing to application. Requested information and documents are given in magnetic environment to these parties in case of written request. Related election boards were informed about use of scanners to be used by district election boards during undertaking of realizing the project, and technical problems during scanning of minutes were eliminated by data processing personnel. Basic manuals were prepared about training of personnel in district election boards. Besides, call centers provide continuous support to users.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
After SİPPORT has been opened to use, through data shared with them, parties had the opportunity to determine extra ordinary situations, to give feedback instantly and to start investigations for such situations. This situation, thanks to its controlling and auditing characteristics, also increased transparency. Parties should be able to access and use accurate and current data whenever they want. The most significant characteristics of this initiative is that rapid accessibility, auditing and control of data and principles subject to use, are implemented equally among parties. SİPPORT made possible transition from the system in which paper and pens were used into electronic environment. With this application, parties had the opportunity to achieve big data in SEC data center, directly from the main source. The most important effect of the initiative is scanning of ballot-box result minutes and their sharing with political parties. Thus, the crosscheck of data obtained from ballot-box representatives of political parties and observers with data transmitted by SEC to headquarters of parties is maintained. This situation decreases the objections against electoral results. For instance, throughout Turkey, in 4 elections held since 2014, total of 2.278.536 pages of minutes had been scanned and sent to political parties. 1.120.109 of these minutes belonged to 25th and 26th terms parliamentary general elections of 2015. In 2015, number of objections against minutes of both elections is 3.106. These unintentional mistakes were immediately corrected and results were resent to headquarters of parties. One of the other benefits of the system for parties is that, parties are able to save all data they have achieved in electronically in their own headquarters. Thus, in addition to having such big data, they have the opportunity to compare data subject to elections and create their own statistics. Besides, with the purpose of protection of equality and objectivity principles, DGER prepared Data Sharing Table at Category Level and determined criteria related with content and characteristics of data and all parties could access data with same content and characteristics. Categories, delivered without the necessity of decision of Council, and their contents are as follows: Candidate/Elected-Candidate Information; temporary/final candidate lists and information on candidates, who are elected after the election is completed, Election Information; Turkey general number of province-district-mukhtar ballot-box and voters, Voters Information; at districts base, domestic mukhtar zone lists, lists of changing information and domestic ballot-box voter lists; at diplomatic missions base, overseas voters lists and lists of changing information and ballot-box voter lists, Information on Electoral Officials of Parties; members of parties assigned at ballot-boxes committees and the lists of officials assigned at customs gates ballot-box committees, domestic ballot-box committees and the ballot-box committees of storing and transporting , counting and tabulating in abroad, Result Information; at electoral district base, results of elections and rates of votes, election results at ballot-box base As it is seen, this initiative brought a new vision in terms of service provided for parties and by changing the structure of processes, allowed parties to participate actively at every phase of elections.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The fact that political parties are able to monitor every stage of the election process contributes to increasing the confidence to the elections and to the elimination of the mistakes made. Boards where political parties actively participate are as follows: In SEC, four political parties which have taken the highest voting amounts in recent parliamentary general elections (they represent 95 percent of voters in Turkey) and political parties which have groups in Turkish Grand National Assembly, with the condition of being authorized by leaders of such political parties, may present one principal and one substitute member in the Board since 02/04/2011. These representatives attend all works and meetings of the Council but are not allowed to vote in decision process. Besides, among the political parties eligible to attend elections, those who have district base organizations, may present one member and one representative in DBEs and one representative in province election boards. Thus, political parties, via their members and representatives, actively participate to all works and transactions of SEC and closely witness objective, fair and transparent process. Political parties which also have members and observers in ballot-box committees, monitor the casting, counting and tabulating of the votes on election day and sign the minutes and take one copy of them by hand. The number of votes taken by the parties in the ballot-box committee result minutes issued to SEÇSİS by DEBs, are transferred to SİPPORT with procedures prepared in every 3 minutes, political parties find the opportunity to match these results with the minutes and may intervene to the possible mistakes. Furthermore, signed ballot-box result minutes which are scanned and transferred to electronic environment, province and district consolidation minutes are delivered to political parties with web service or web interface or mass data transfer methods simultaneously and monitoring of political parties over the results of elections have been upgraded. Although SİPPORT seems addressing small group in terms of user numbers, participating of the political parties at every stage of the elections, increase the confidence of supporters of parties as well as public and media. Therefore, the initiative is that through greater auditability and controllability will be developed more effectively, and will produce greater and more visible contributions to the elections.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Among the users of SİPPORT project, there is no gender gap.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Supreme Election Council
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Derya ERAD
Title:   Sytem Analyst  
Telephone/ Fax:   +90 312 4199011/+90 312 4199052
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   derya.erad@ysk.gov.tr  
Address:   Seçmen Kütüğü Genel Müdürlüğü, Kızılırmak Cad. No:9 Küçükesat
Postal Code:   06680
City:   Çankaya
State/Province:   Ankara
Country:  

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