Elections, which testified the maturity of Turkmen society and the realization of the political rights and freedoms of citizens on the basis of the humanitarian policy of the respected President, clearly demonstrate the triumph of popular democracy. For organized holding elections, which have become an important socio-political event held in a multi-party system and on the basis of democratic principles, polling stations are formed within our country. Polling stations are equipped in accordance with international standards.
A polling station is a territorial unit created to compile a list of voters, conduct voting and count votes. In other words, this is a populated territory for holding elections and referendums, which includes part of the corresponding constituency and administrative-territorial unit, in accordance with the list of voters indicated in the electoral law.
Polling stations are created in order to create conditions for voters to vote, to organize their free expression of their will, to ensure the secrecy of voting, to carry out work related to elections by election commissions, to ensure the appearance of persons entitled to be at the polling station and to carry out other relevant work on Election Day.
The polling station and the equipment installed in it must comply with the requirements of sanitary and fire safety and must be located in premises favorable for voting by voters. Within the events for ensuring the implementation of these works in accordance with the requirements, the Central Election Commission approved the regulation “On the procedure for preparing the premises for voting at the polling station”.
In what order are events implemented to establish polling stations?
In accordance with the Electoral Code of Turkmenistan, for holding voting on elections and referendums, the territory of the city, settlement, and village is divided into polling stations. Polling stations are formed by the respective etrap, city election commissions in a sequential manner.
On the elections of the President of Turkmenistan and deputies of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, on the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the Central Election Commission at the diplomatic missions of Turkmenistan also formed polling stations. They are assigned to polling stations of the etrap or city determined by the Central Election Commission.
Polling stations are formed no later than forty-five days before Election Day, referendum. In military units, remote and hard-to-reach areas, sanatoriums and rest homes, inpatient medical facilities, places of detention of persons to whom the measure of administrative coercion or criminal procedural restraint was applied, at diplomatic missions of Turkmenistan, polling stations can be formed no later than five days before the Election Day.
Polling stations are formed with a number from twenty to two thousand voters; in some cases, the formation of polling stations with a number of less than twenty voters is allowed. The relevant election commission informs the public about the boundaries of each polling station indicating the location of the polling place.
The border of a polling station is not go beyond the boundaries of the respective constituency. In other words, in most cases, the boundaries of a polling station are less than the limits of a constituency. For within the constituency there are several polling stations.
But sometimes, in the administrative-territorial units with a small number of voters, mainly in the elections of members of Gengeshes, conversely, within the polling station you can see the placement of several constituencies. Polling stations are inextricably linked with the constituencies. In the absence of one of them, it is impossible to hold elections.
On the elections held on March 25, 2018, a total of 2565 polling stations were formed within Turkmenistan, including: 299 in the city of Ashgabat, 364 in the Ahal velayat, 272 in the Balkan velayat, 523 in the Dashoguz velayat, 559 in the Lebap velayat and 548 polling stations in Mary velayat. In addition, 39 polling stations were established at the diplomatic missions (consular offices) of Turkmenistan abroad. So, the total number of polling stations is 2604.
Speaking about polling stations, it should be emphasized that there is a provision on the procedure for organizing and holding voting on the polling stations established at diplomatic missions (consular offices) of Turkmenistan abroad.
Due to the increase in the number of voters with each new election, it is characteristic in increasing in the number of polling stations. For example: the total number of polling stations on the Presidential elections of Turkmenistan on February 12, 2017 is 2587, and on the parliamentary elections held on March 25, 2018, members of the Halk maslahaty and Gengeshes are 2604. All polling stations of Turkmenistan were provided with a single sample of seals, signs, cabins, ballot boxes and other material values.
Who has the right to be on the polling station?
Within the efforts to ensure clarity of elections, the precinct election commission prepares a place for observers, representatives of the media, candidates and proxies on the polling station premises.
When preparing seats for observers, representatives of the mass media and other persons who have the right to be present on the polling station, conditions are created for the full observation of the process of receiving the ballots by voters, their entry into the voting cabins, and the process of lowering the ballot to the ballot box.
Which works is being done in the field of digitalization of polling stations?
As you know, on the elections held on March 25, 2018 with the direct support of our national Leader, it was installed special video cameras in dozens of polling stations of the city of Ashgabat and velayats, and the voting process was shown to the population on-line via the Internet on the website of the Central Election Commission saylav.gov.tm, which has become a very good experience in this area.
In the future, it is planned to continue the process of digitalization of polling stations on a larger scale.
Having created ample opportunities for ensuring the transparency of elections, Turkmenistan in his political life chose a world-recognized democratic path aimed at protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Chief specialist of the Organizational department of Central Commission for holding elections and referendums in Turkmenistan.