Partial Recount Ordered in Afghan Presidential Election

After finding convincing evidence of fraud, Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has ordered a partial recount of the votes in the August 20 presidential elections.

Citing “clear and convincing evidence of fraud in a number of polling stations”, the Complaints Commission asked the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to carry out audit and recount.

According to ECC, in a polling station where fraud is alleged, “exceptionally high number” of votes was cast “in relation to the number of ballots available” or an extremely high number of votes cast for only one candidate.

That’s why, an audit and recount of ballots has been ordered by the ECC at polling stations where the total number of votes is 600, and represent a voter turnout of 100 percent, and where one candidate received 95 percent or greater of the total valid votes, if the total number of votes exceeds 100.

Out of over 2, 000 complaints since the elections, the ECC has deemed more than 700 as “Priority A”.

Senior State Department officials said that the decision came following recommendation of US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to allow the investigation into vote fraud.

The two met Monday night in Kabul, the officials said.

Eikenberry urged Karzai to allow the IEC to thoroughly investigate vote fraud and determine which votes are accurate and then apply a very high standard to determine which votes are counted, according to the officials.

Once that is determined, IEC officials would determine whether a runoff is necessary.

In the days following last month’s election, the IEC has sought to reassure voters of its impartiality and transparency in tallying the results, mainly responding to fraud accusations by Karzai’s chief challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.

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