Afghans Deserve to be Praised for Turning out to Vote Today!
Watching them manage the polling stations and proudly cast their votes gives hope for this nascent democracy, no matter who ends up winning. And if it should go to a second round, the legitimacy of the process might actually strengthened.
There were reports of over 260 security incidents throughout Afghanistan today and, after the security situation in the days prior to the election and the threats made against voters, turnout was expected to be low. And yet, people turned out to vote. Afghans manned the polling stations, sent poll observers to almost all stations, provided the security for the stations, and turned out in greater numbers than expected.
Watching the practice of democracy in action in this nascent democratic, largely illiterate and poor country, was quite an experience. Today, turnout was clearly lower than in 2004/2005, there were problems with procedures, ink washing off, card punchers not working, and other confirmed and alleged fraud. But there is an Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission which will deal with these issues in the coming weeks. For now, the fact that Afghans turned out and followed the procedures of a democracy under the shadow of multiple threats is to be admired!