Afghan Election Fraud Commission Throws Out Suspect Votes
10 September 2009
The commission investigating reports of vote fraud in Afghanistan's
presidential election is invalidating the ballots from polling stations
in two provinces.
|Workers count ballots at the Independent Election Commission in Kabul, Afghanistan, 27 Aug 2009|
The U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints
Commission announced Thursday that it is excluding votes from 32
polling stations in Ghazni and Paktika provinces.
In a statement
explaining its decision, the ECC cited "clear and convincing evidence
of fraud", including unfolded ballots, uniformity of markings and lists
of voters with fictitious card numbers.
The commission has also ordered recounts for ballots from some polling locations.
President Hamid Karzai has welcomed the partial returns from the
country's controversial August 20 presidential elections, which gave
him 54 percent of the vote.
But his main challenger, former
Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah who has 28 percent of the vote, said
his campaign will not accept the results because they have been tallied
in violation of election laws.
A U.S. election monitoring group
called National Democratic Institute expressed "deep concern" Thursday
over the high number of fraud complaints that have been filed.
said it found grounds for concern in a number of provinces, including
Nuristan, Paktia, Helmand and Badghis. In these cases, many polling
stations reported voter turnout that was far higher than analysts had
estimated, prompting concerns about the poll's credibility.
U.S. Embassy in Kabul has called for patience as the electoral process
continues. It also called on both commissions to rigorously carry out
their legal mandate to count all votes and to exclude all fraudulent
The Obama administration has said that a "legitimate" election process is vital to the future of U.S.-Afghan relations.
credible election is also deemed crucial to the reputation of the
mission by 42 nations and their 100,000 troops fighting the Taliban and
attempting to preserve Afghanistan's fledgling democracy.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.