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Ear to the Ground

Karzai Closes In, but U.N. Orders Recounts

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Posted on Sep 8, 2009
U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Ken Denny

An Afghan election monitor prepares a ballot for a voter during Afghanistan’s first parliamentary election in 2005. Afghanistan’s democracy may be budding, but the bloom has come off it’s electoral process.

U.N. monitors found “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” in Afghanistan’s recent election and have cast doubt on results from 600 polling places. Hamid Karzai has so far secured more than the 50 percent needed to win, but U.N. officials have ordered recounts and investigations of the suspect precincts.

Hamid Karzai may feel that fraud is “inevitable in a budding democracy,” but the Afghan people who survived 400 Taliban attacks on election day deserve accurate results.  —PS

BBC:

The results push President Karzai past the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off with rival Abdullah Abdullah.

But the figures were thrown into doubt by the UN-backed election complaints commission ordering a number of recounts and audits of votes.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, September 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

I guess the diebold machines didn’t work because the Afghani tribesmen couldn’t read.

They have used their own form of government and elections for thousands of years, lets leave them alone and let them get on with their subsistance lifestyle.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, September 8, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Anyone ever notice how politicians everywhere make sure there are no real legal penalties for vote fraud?

Not just in Afghanistan, but everywhere.  What’s the penalty for fixing an election in the US?

I suspect that if a few low level operatives somehow got caught they might get a slap on the wrist jail term.  Just guessing, but probably less time than if they got caught with a pound of pot.  And that’s if they managed to get caught in a system where the election commissions are controlled by the two parties and the attorneys general are controlled by the winning party.

But, you’d never see any penalty to any politician who benefits from vote fraud.  Maybe a fine, their campaign committee has to pay, which they raise from setting up a new account for their owners to put more money into.

You’ll never see any politician putting forward a law that would set mandatory minimums for politicians who benefit from rigging elections.  I’d say a minimum of a prison term of twice the length of the term of office would be fair.

Subvert our sacred democracy by trying to rig an election to win an office for four years, and you risk spending a mandatory minimum of eight years in a federal prison.  Do you think politicians might shy away from breaking the rules if there was such a penalty?

And hey, since our politicians are so big on the death penalty as a deterrent, why not apply it to campaign fraud?  After all, in a real democracy, there is nothing more sacred and more fundamental to the society than its free and fair system of elections.  In a system where the power lies with ‘we the people’, free and fair elections are the only check and balance that the people hold.  Tampering with that is the ultimate attack on the very foundations of democracy.  Can there be a greater crime against a democratic society?

So, if the death penalty is such a great deterrent, shouldn’t we be using it to protect the important and fundamental institution of democracy in our great free and democratic society?

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skulz fontaine's avatar

By skulz fontaine, September 8, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Election fraud in the Afghaniscam? Wow, go figure. So, what happens when the
U.N. declares that Hamid buddy stole that election? Sanctions? Send in the U.S.
military? The U.S. declares “mission accomplished” in the Afghaniscam and gets
out? Hmmm, that seems ever so unlikely to happen.

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