Complaints of Fraud in Afghan Vote Grow

3,764 Complaints Already Submitted, Many More Expected

by Jason Ditz, September 22, 2010

Despite a dismally low turnout and pre-vote surveys suggesting most Afghans fully expected the vote to be marred by systemic corruption, Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) says it has already received 3,764 complaints related to Saturday’s election and the process leading up to it.

Reports of widespread fraud have been pouring in from the moment the polls opened, with extra voter cards being sold wholesale in many Afghan bazaars and election officials openly stuffing ballots in front of international observers. The result has been, in short, a mess.

And it is likely only going to get worse as the vote count begins, as many more complaints about the impartiality of the counters are expected, and decisions about what to do with the number of districts with over 100 percent turnout likely to add to that figure.

Perhaps the biggest question to keep an eye on is that of turnout, however. On Saturday the Independent Election Commission claimed 3.6 million votes had been cast, and now officials are putting that figure at 4.3 million. Where these extra 700,000 votes came from is likely to be a matter of no small speculation, particularly with so many of the top election officials clearly close partisan allies of the Karzai government.

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