Sixth Report on the Observation of the Voters’ Registration Process
The Independent Election Commission launched a process of “top up” of voter registration on May 26, 2013. Based on the VR procedure prepared by the Independent Election Commission, voter registration process will take place in two different phases. The first phase covers 41 centers in 34 provinces. Each center includes two sites, one for male and one for female. The second phase of the process will cover 440 centers in the districts and villages. The second phase will take two month to distribute card. The voter registration stage of the electoral process is intended to ensure voting cards are distributed to the new eligible, returning Afghan refugees, eligible voters who have moved from one constituency to another constituency, those who have lost their voting cards, whose voting cards are damages that identifying their profile is difficult, and those who have never received a card before. Free and Fair Elections Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) was accredited with the IEC to conduct independent observation of the all electoral process. FEFA deployed 82 professional and trained observers to observe the first phase of the voter registration process in 34 provinces. The observers send their observation findings to the central office of FEFA. After the findings are analyzed by the Program team of FEFA they are shared with the IEC and other partner institutions. The important findings (from June 30 to July 6, 2013) are as follow: Security threats -The reports show that security threats have created fear among people which encourage lack of interest in people for taking part in the process. The security condition has direct impact on the voters’ registration process. In Ghazni province a bomb exploded near a high school which frightened people and created fear among the applicants. - in Paktika province a suicide bomber exploded himself near the Provincial Council that as a result several people were killed. The events of Ghazis and Paktika decreased the number of Voting cards applicants.
- in Laghman province the insurgents threatened the head of center through a phone call that as a result the head of the center resigned from his job. Resignation of the head of center had negative impacts on the electoral staff and created fear among people. Insecurity has negative impacts on psychological state of people and decrease the number of applicants who want to receive cards. In comparison with the other provinces the people of Kandahar and Nooristan are less interested to take part in the voters’ registration process. Nonconformity of the schedule in opening and closing of the centers: Nonconformity of the working schedule by the VR staff in some provinces encouraged lack of interest in people for the VR process. In Takhar, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Parwan, Ghazni, Faryab, and Badghis the VR staff do not observe working schedule. There is a difference of one hour in closing and opening time of the centers in the mentioned provinces. on July 4,2013 the electoral staff in Faryab province closed the center at 2:30 and while our observer called to the head of the IEC in Faryab province to ask the reason, he said due to lack of applicants they closed the center in official time. Inappropriateness of the location of sites: In some provinces the location of sites especially female sites are not fair. The female applicants do not feel calm while recourse to the sites for receiving cards therefore they leave the sites without receiving card. In Konduz province the female site locates in a crowded area and while women see the commuting of men in the area they leave the place without receiving cards. Inaccuracy in keeping the sensitive materials: -inaccuracy in keeping sensitive material in the VR centers is a major problem. The centers officials must ensure that the places they keep the materials are safe. The observation reports of FEFA show that in some provinces the centers are not locked properly. In Takhar, Bamyan, and Parwan provinces the sensitive material are not locked properly. In Herat province the voters’ registration center (Fakhr Almas center) do not have door and windows and the materials are kept in the room of police. Technical problems: Technical problems in some centers have delayed the process or even stopped the process which made people leave the centers without receiving cards. On July 2 and 4, 2013 such a problem took place in Faryab province and due to lack of ink, cover of card, and tissue paper in the male site the process was delayed and a number of people criticized and left the site without receiving cards. It’s worth mentioning that FEFA provincial coordinators have shared the findings with the IEC provincial departments and have recommended solutions to above mentioned problems.
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