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Archive for Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Neat totals cast doubt on election

September 8, 2009

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— At the Afghan polling station called Haji Nehmetullah House, every one of the 725 votes cast during the country’s Aug. 20 election went to President Hamid Karzai. At another site, Haji Akhtar Mohammad House, the incumbent got each of the precisely 400 ballots cast.

Allegations of ballot box stuffing, voter intimidation and other fraud have been lodged from all corners of the country following last month’s presidential contest. An Associated Press examination of returns shows what officials said Monday appear to be highly suspicious — and improbable — results.

Stations across Afghanistan’s south gave Karzai 200, 250 or 500 votes, according to figures compiled by the Independent Election Commission. Observers say these neatly rounded numbers show patterns of fraud consistent with allegations that large-scale vote rigging took place in dangerous regions that observers couldn’t reach.

A senior Western diplomat alleged Monday that a majority of the votes in three provinces — Kandahar, Paktika and Khost — are fraudulent. Partial returns from each of those provinces heavily favor Karzai.

At the Zoor District Center in Paktika province, Karzai got 300, 250, 200 and 200 votes at four of the center’s six polling stations. As of Monday, the votes were still listed as part of the overall tally.

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