Afghanistan & Iraq: Afghanistan—An Election Gone Awry

Issue Date July 2010
Volume 21
Issue 3
Page Numbers 11-25
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The 2009 Afghanistan elections were characterized by significant fraud that undermined their credibility and negated years of planning and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in Afghanistan’s democratic development. The author, a member of the Electoral Complaints Commission that investigated the fraud, attributes the shortcomings to a flawed voter registration process, corrupt polling staff, biased government officials, and lack of accountability of candidates and the Independent Election Commission. Underlying these immediate causes, however, were more fundamental problems of security and ethnic rivalry that offer a cautionary tale about the hazards of planning and holding votes in conflict-ridden environments where security and the rule of law have yet to take hold.

About the Author

Scott Worden is senior rule of law advisor at the United States Institute of Peace. He served as one of three UN-appointed commissioners on the Afghanistan Electoral Complaints Commission during the 2009 presidential and provincial-council elections. This essay contains his personal views and does not necessarily represent those of the UN or the U.S. Institute of Peace.

View all work by Scott Worden