IEC Preparations Come to an End, Voting Times Announced
 
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News - Election 2014

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With preparations for the presidential and provincial council elections finishing up, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday announced that polls around the country will be open on Saturday from 7:00AM to 4:00PM, but that closing time could be pushed back if need be.

According to IEC officials, Thursday saw the final batch of election materials distributed to Kabul districts under secure escort. With that, all voting centers are believed to have been supplied with the designated 600 ballots and the equipment necessary to conduct the voting process.

"Voting will officially take place across Afghanistan from 7:00AM to 4:00PM, and citizens will be able to cast their votes in the nearest polling center," IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said. "If there is overcrowding, the commission will extend the voting period."

Although the past couple weeks' surge in voter registration was welcomed by election officials, they have reminded voters that voting cards issued for previous elections are still valid and can be used to vote in this year's elections. The IEC has reportedly registered some 3.8 million new voters since May of last year.

On Thursday, IEC officials took the opportunity while announcing polling times to encourage Afghan women to get out and vote on Saturday. More women are expected to vote in this election, which will mark the country's first democratic transition of presidential power in history, than in any other previous year.

"Our expectation for Afghan women, who constitute a hardworking segment of Afghan society, is that they will have broad participation in the elections and cast their votes," IEC Commissioner Laila Ehrari said.

Vote counting will begin at polling centers under the watchful eye of domestic and international observers and media after voting ends on Saturday. Results will then be sent to the IEC's headquarters in Kabul where the final tallies will be made.

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