Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 18, 2009

We have had several meetings with representatives of presidential candidates, members of international organizations and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) about the upcoming elections. Security is on everyone’s mind, especially in light of the two bombs that went off today, one on the road to Jalalabad outside of Kabul, and another in a northern province.

Afghan-led Elections: What is really noticeably different about these elections compared to the last round is that these are Afghan-led elections, with the majority of the leading staff at IEC and EEC being Afghans. Both the IEC and EEC, however, also retain a significant number of international staff.

Anti-fraud mechanisms in place: To counter polling fraud, several mechanisms have been put in place, including the creation of the permanent IEC & ECC; having international, domestic and candidate-sent election observers in place at polling stations; the use of indelible ink (which does not wash away for 10 days) on a finger of each voter; the presence of election observers at each stage of the vote tabulation process; and the posting of preliminary results outside each polling station. With all these mechanisms in place, a significant number of polling stations would have to be captured in order to make a difference in the outcome. So the likelihood of fraud should not be very high … if all goes according to plan that is!

Polling Fraud: Despite all these anti-fraud measures, fraud has already been committed with the widely reported over-registration in particular of women in insecure parts of the country. BBC also reported that one can buy voter registration cards for $10 at a market in Kabul. The question is who would benefit from this type of fraud? Karzai supporters state that support for Karzai is greatest in the insecure, Pashtun-dominated southern part of the country. They therefore think that they have the most to lose. However, it is of course also easiest to commit electoral fraud in insecure areas where there are few election observers...

1 comment:

  1. Rani, What an amazing project to take on! I will be following your posts.. Praying for your safe stay and return..Tight Hugs, Vassu