Kabul, September 18, 2010 – 9:30pm – As polls closed Saturday evening in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections and ballot-counting began, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan reported extensive irregularities and called on the Independent Election Commission to ensure the integrity of the rest of the electoral process.
Insecurity and violence shaped the voting process in large swaths of the country. FEFA observers reported serious security incidents around at least 389 polling centers. Polling centers were blown up in Kunar, Khost and Kandahar and captured in Laghman, Kunduz and Badghis, shutting down voting in the communities those centers served.
Violence by candidates, their agents and local powerbrokers was reported in several areas and so were a worrying number of instances of government official interfering in the voting process to sway the results in favor of their chosen candidates.
Ballot stuffing was seen to varying extents in most provinces, as were proxy voting and underage voting.
The widespread ink failures at the polls caused panic among candidates who feared the ink’s removability would enable fraud by rivals distributing multiple voter cards to their supporters...