Voter Registration in Afghanistan Flawed

While reports show that there are over 10 million people registered to vote in Afghanistan’s October presidential elections, it has become evident that the election registration process is Afghanistan is seriously flawed. According to BBC News, this number greatly exceeds the total estimated number of eligible voters for the whole country. United Nations officials originally estimated there were 9.8 million eligible adults, and have since upped the number in response to the climbing registration numbers. The UN claimed that earlier estimates were erroneous because of the lack of accurate census data. There have been reports of individuals brandishing two or more voting cards, usually announcing they have acquired extra ones as an investment, or in hopes of selling the cards to make $100 or more per card, reports BBC News. In the Panjshir Valley, the number of cards issued is two and a half times the estimated number of voters.

The Taliban has made efforts to impede the elections process, specifically targeting women. Only 42 percent of those registered to vote are women, leaving some two-thirds of a million not registered, according to BBC News. A Taliban spokesman stated that it has made an “appeal to civilians to stay away from the elections and places where the Americans and coalition are living and working” as “they are our primary targets.”

Members of the Taliban have been present at the registration polls and have threatened women as they approach to register, reports BBC News. The election, which was initially scheduled to take place in June, has been delayed twice due to insecurity created by Taliban-like militia and other so-called warlords and slow voter registration.

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Feminist Daily News Wire 8/31/04, 6/28/04; BBC News 9/2/04

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