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.