Pattern of fraud emerging in upcoming Afghan elections
The AP is reporting that “more than 17 million” Afghans have registered to vote. Meaning the actual number of registrants is more than the amount of eligible voters. Otherwise put, 17 million voters in a country of about 33.6 million people (about half of which are under 18) equals a voter turnout of more than 100%.
Some other mind-boggling numbers include the amount of women that are registered to vote in the country’s most conservative areas. As the AP reports,
The number of women who were registered over the last year in Paktia, Khost and Logar provinces is also raising eyebrows, said Spinghar [an election’s monitor]. Afghan males there registered multiple women from their families — as many as 10 or 15 in some cases — and claimed that because of cultural sensitivities the women could not register in person, he said. It’s not clear those women exist.
The dominant ethnic group in all three conservative provinces is the Pashtun tribe. Karzai, the leading candidate in a crowded field of three dozen contenders hoping to win a five-year term, is a Pashtun.
Figures from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission show that 72,958 women registered in Khost compared with 38,500 men; 87,600 women registered in Paktia compared with 50,250 men; and 36,849 women registered in Logar but 14,342 men.
Later in the article, Sarah Chayes – an adviser to Gen. McChrystal – stated she bought 10 voter registration cards on the black market.
There is a basic consensus amongst analysts that if the Afghan elections are perceived relatively free and fair they will be considered a positive development by Afghans. However, if corruption and vote-rigging are seen to significantly alter the outcome then many believe it will contribute to the country’s instability.