Fraud Accusations Double in Afghan Election

Karzai's opponents accuse him of stuffing ballot boxes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 9:44 AM CDT
Election workers ponder over a problem while entering data into a computer at the election result tally center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 31, 2009.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
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(Newser) – When a Kabul school teacher arrived at 6am at an election station he was supposed to run, he found the ballot boxes already full. When he protested, the local tribal chieftain’s men took him away. His is just one of 550 serious fraud accusations that Afghan election officials are looking into—a number that has suddenly jumped from 270, the New York Times reports. Almost all of the alleged fraud favors Hamid Karzai.

“It does indicate there were a lot of allegations that have to be taken seriously, and if fraud did take place, that it was systematic,” said one analyst. The international community is increasingly uneasy with the in-limbo situation—elections results can't be certified until the serious claims have been investigated—but is unsure how to deal with it. Afghan officials say that if any fraud accusation is proven, the affected ballot boxes will be struck from the count, but witnesses and evidence could be hard to come by.