The electoral prospects for the Turkish party Denk look promising at the moment. In a recent election in the Netherlands, Turkish-speaking helpers accompanied ethnic Turks into the voting booth and gave them advice and assistance in Turkish.
Reports of Turkish ‘observers’ in voting booth
March 21, 2018
AMSTERDAM — UPDATE — Turkish ‘observers’ would accompany voters in at least two Amsterdam electoral locations into the voting booth to explain everything in Turkish. This is reported on Twitter. The municipality has a statement that is at odds with the findings of voters, but will do some investigation.
A polling station at Amsterdam Central
VARA comedian Johan Goossens tweeted Wednesday after the vote: “I predict a great victory for Denk in my neighborhood Bos en Lommer in Amsterdam. In the polling room they give personal voting advice in Turkish and even go with you in the booth… I said something about it, but no one intervened. Bizarre.”
Only a voter is allowed to enter the voting booth because of voting secrecy. This is to prevent someone from being forced or influenced to vote for something. Only people with a disability may be helped. According to Goossens, who confirms his story by telephone, the latter was not the case.
“Guys, this is not allowed?”
I arrived at the polling station and that observer pointed out the older couple on the list. They spoke in Turkish and a moment later the person with the older couple disappeared into the booth, pushed through. I said, guys, this is not allowed? There were five other observers, but they did not look up. This is serious.
Goossens has complained to the Electoral Council and the municipality of Amsterdam. The municipality indicates that they are taking the message from Goossens seriously. A spokesperson says that the report is now being investigated. Among other things, a visit will be made to the polling station.
The political scientist Merijn Boezer found something similar in the local electoral office of Meevaart in the Indische Buurt in Amsterdam. “I think it is not allowed to help people who do not speak Dutch in the voting booth? Walk in and stay at the booth for a while… So this happened in the Indische Buurt, Meevaart electoral space.” Later, Boezer corrected his report: it turns out to be the Meevaart bureau; Meevaart office is located in Amsterdam Nieuw-West.
Response from Amsterdam
According to the municipality of Amsterdam, there was indeed a note about the state of affairs at the polling station in Bos en Lommer, which was also included in the official report. “After the report we went to the location with two officials to find out what happened,” says the municipal spokesman. “The chairman of the electoral committee intervened, because two people stood in one voting booth. That’s not allowed. No voting advice was given, but they were told how voting works. This happened in Dutch.” According to the spokesperson, the same thing happened at the Meevaart agency.
In response, Goossens said: “Unfortunately, this story from the municipality is not at all correct. I did not hear the observer speak a word of Dutch and he just disappeared with the couple in the voting booth, and even opened their ballot. I was the only one who said something about it.”
Rotterdam voting advice
In Rotterdam, an unknown woman gave voting advice to Turkish women in the afternoon in front of the entrance of a polling station. This is reported by RTV Rijnmond. In videos that a party leader made, it is clear that she advises women to vote against the security law, and points them to the list of candidates. “An undesirable situation,” says the municipality, which is not going to conduct any investigation.