AIHRC observers: challenges reported while observing the Presidential Elections

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission



28 September 2019


AIHRC observers: challenges reported while observing the Presidential Elections  


Afghans faced a number of challenges while voting today including: security incidents, delays in the start of voting, technical problems, late arrival of IEC staff, inaccurate voter lists, low voter turnout – especially for women and those with disabilities. In some provinces there were also reports of good voter turnout, good security and the timely presence of commission staff in polling stations. Some of the major inconsistencies and challenges observed by our staff are noted below.

Security Incidents

One serious problems has been security incidents. Kunduz, Nangarhar, Badakhshan, Faryab, Baghlan, Bamiyan, Kabul, Kandahar are among the provinces that have witnessed numerous explosions and other security incidents.

Civilian casualties include: two children in Kunar province, one man killed and one wounded in Paktika province and 10 people killed or wounded in Kandahar province. Civilian casualties so far total 14. AIHRC’s observers in Faryab province report violence between different electoral teams as a result of which the voting process at the Torpakhtu High School in Maimana town was suspended. The reason for the violence was encouraging women to vote in favor of a particular ticket.

Delays in voting

Delays were reported at a majority of polling stations between 7:30 am to 8:40 am. AIHRC observers say one of the main reasons for the delay in the start of the voting process was staff turning up late.

Commission staff

The late presence of IEC staff in polling stations was a serious issue. The AIHRC's observers say that IEC staff were not present at polling stations at 7am. In addition, unannounced IEC staff posed another problem.

Technical problems

Another challenge was failure of the biometric system. It was also reported that the IEC staff were unfamiliar with it and had difficulties using it. In some provinces, election materials arrived late. The printing machine was also inefficient, which caused delays.

Problem with voter lists

In many provinces, the list of citizens' names did not match voter lists as well as information on the biometric system. This has been one of the major issues. In some provinces, this led people to wander from one polling station to another in search of somewhere to vote.

Low voter turnout

AIHRC’s observers report that the presence of citizens at polling stations was low. This was mostly due to security threats. For instance, Kunduz province had low voter turnout due to threats, especially for women. For example, in the Itarchi School of Argo of Badakhshan district, from morning to 12:42 in the afternoon,  only 13 people voted.

But in Bamyan, Daikundi, Herat and Helmand provinces participation among women voters was high.  

Accessibility issues for people with disabilities

AIHRC observers received reports that polling stations were not accessible to those with disabilities. IEC did not provide facilities to aid those with disabilities to vote.