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McClatchy Newspapers, September 5, 2009

Polling records appear to back fraud allegations in Afghanistan presidential election

In Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, the results from 66 polling sites have been released. In nine of them, 100 percent of the votes went to Karzai.

By Hal Bernton

Abdullah Abdullah running for presidential elections
Translation: Vote For Your National Leader!

Detailed polling records released by an Afghan election commission revealed numerous polling places in Kandahar province where all the votes were delivered to a single candidate — President Hamid Karzai.

The records appear to bolster fraud allegations surrounding the Aug. 20 presidential election — which has become ever more critical to the U.S. and its allies in the face of Afghanistan’s increasingly powerful Taliban insurgency.

In Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, the results from 66 polling sites have been released. In nine of them, 100 percent of the votes went to Karzai.

Also in Kandahar province, an area that was a target of insurgent attacks to try to suppress the vote, there were six polling places that had more than 100 percent of the estimated registered voters reportedly turn out. At one location, the turnout was nearly a third higher than the number of voters registered.

Also in Kandahar province, an area that was a target of insurgent attacks to try to suppress the vote, there were six polling places that had more than 100 percent of the estimated registered voters reportedly turn out. At one location, the turnout was nearly a third higher than the number of voters registered.
McClatchy Newspapers, Sep. 6, 2009

“It is state-organized fraud,” Karzai’s main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, a former minister in Karzai’s government, said Saturday.

The fraud allegations have created a mess for the Obama administration, which had hoped the election would strengthen the Afghan people’s faith in a government set up in the aftermath of the 2001 U.S. invasion that overthrew the Taliban.

But the election process could drag on for many more weeks as more than 600 high-priority allegations of ballot-box stuffing, voter intimidation and other misconduct are investigated.

As of Saturday, the results from about 60 percent of Afghanistan’s polling places had been announced. Karzai has more than 47 percent of the vote, compared with 33 percent for Abdullah. Neither candidate has achieved the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

Category: Corruption - Views: 7179