TOLOnews journalist Samim Faramarz this week visited a number of voter registration centers in Kabul in a bid to find out why members of the public and politicians are concerned about copies of ID cards being stamped in the voter registration process.
The big question raised regarding this issue is whether people will be able to get multiple copies of their ID cards stamped which would allow them to vote more than once.
In an attempt to see if this was possible, Faramarz was accompanied by a resident of Kabul who took two copies to two different voter registration centers and registered at both to vote in the October elections.
The resident said he did this to prove that people could simply register more than once, which will pave the way for election fraud.
This report shows that it is possible for a voter to vote many times on election day using copies of his ID card.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) recently announced that it would no longer stamp original ID documents, but would stamp a copy instead. However, officials at voter registration centers said they are confused and are not sure what they are supposed to stamp.
At one of the centers that Faramarz and the Kabul resident visited on Sunday, IEC employees at first refused to accept the copy of the ID card of the Kabul resident. However, after discussing the issue among themselves, they stamped the copy.
“Based on the order that we have received today from the election commission and president, we are told to stamp copies of ID cards, especially ID cards of those who are from insecure provinces,” Fahim, an employee at the voter registration center said.
In another registration center, employees were again confused about which version to stamp. They then discussed the issue with a manager before finally stamping the copy – the second copy of the Kabul resident’s ID.
“I hope and want all the officials and president to stop this and hold a transparent election to let people vote for their favorite candidate and determine their destiny,” the Kabul resident said.
Despite having said earlier this month that the voter registration database would be rolled out, no details are being input and instead voters’ details are being registered manually and entered into books.
No steps have been taken to prevent people from doing what the Kabul resident did.
However, sources recently said the decision to stamp copies of ID documents was imposed on the IEC by the Presidential Palace – a move that has been sharply criticized by MPs and political parties.
Critics blasted the Presidential Palace for interfering in the election process and said while a number of IEC commissioners were against the move, President Ashraf Ghani asked them to resign ifthey disagreed with his decision.