Problems during the recent Afghan election

Election workers count ballots in Mazar-I-Sharif in northern Afghanistan (Photo:AP/Farzana Wahidy)

Election workers count ballots in Mazar-I-Sharif in northern Afghanistan (Photo:AP/Farzana Wahidy)

Amid recent reports of widespread fraud during the Afghan elections, the Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit has released a report entitled : Why Afghans voted in 2009. The report outlines many individual, community-based, ethnic and national motivations, as well as numerous key factors that impeded voter participation.  Although there were fears that security problems would prevent the people of Afghanistan from participating in their elections, the report outlines the wide-spread confusion during the registration process and on election day as a significant reason why votes were not cast. Not only did some voters lose their voter registration cards,rendering them unable to vote, but there were an astonishing 524 candidates listed on the multi-page provincial councilor ballot.

This begs the question:  why were these seemingly obvious glitches not addressed in the lead up to the election?

The report also highlights the issue of womens’ participation in the electoral process, which  is far from resolved in Afghanistan. In some areas, the womens’ poling stations were not easily visible or were absent alltogether. Conversely, in some other areas where womens’ poling stations were  visible and available, these stations went unused due to enduring conservative values.

To read the full report, click here

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