The introduction of mobile ballot boxes in the March amendments, in addition to facilitating the right to vote for persons unable to be physically present at polling stations, has a positive effect on the political participation of persons with disabilities (Law on Basic Provisions on Elections and Voter Registers, Article 14.17). The Venice Commission and ODIHR welcome this amendment, in principle. However, the law does not specify how mobile ballot boxes are to function and what safeguards are required. Instead, the law delegates to the SBE the power to develop the legal framework for mobile ballot boxes. The Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters provides that “mobile ballot boxes should only be allowed under strict conditions, avoiding all risks of fraud”.36 However, as was noted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2011, “[a]lternative ways of voting should be used only in cases where it is not possible, or it is extremely difficult, for persons with disabilities to vote in polling stations like everyone else... General reliance on voting assistance and alternative voting as a way to ensure the political participation of persons with disabilities would not be consistent with the general obligations undertaken by States Parties under articles 4 and 29 of the Convention [the CRPD].”37 The Turkish authorities informed the Venice Commission and ODIHR that Circular no. 135/2 Regulating Duties and Authorities of the Domestic Ballot Box Committees adopted by the Supreme Board of Elections on 8 May 2018 regulates the functioning of mobile ballot boxes. It would be preferable to define such conditions in the legislation to provide for greater legal stability, as the voting outside polling stations would be predictable to a higher extent and, due to the transparency and restricted margin of appreciation for the BBCs, more trustful.
36 See Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, I.3.2.vi.
37 Paragraphs 58 and 74, Thematic Study of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Participation in Po- litical and Public Life by Persons with Disabilities, 2011. Available at: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/ HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-36_en.pdf.