IEC Midday Press Conference Notes

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Today Fazal Ahmad Manawi, the chairman of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission, held a midday press conference to discuss the situation on the Election Day so far. Our notes follow:

Polling Center Logistics

Manawi said that while small incidents have been reported around the country related to poll openings, the IEC had been able to resolve them. As an example, he said that some ballot papers intended for Badghis province had gone to Bamiyan province and vice versa, but that the IEC had used reserve ballots in the two provinces to address the issue.

Issues have also been reported with hole-punchers, which polling center staff are supposed to use to invalidate voter cards. It was reported that some of these do not work or some stations had not received the punches. The IEC directed its staff to use scissors instead.

Questions have also been raised about the quality of ink, with allegations in local and internationa media that it can be removed by use of chemicals, or there are two kinds of ink being used. Manawi stressed that the ink had been provided by the United Nations Development Program and had received a quality check from Kabul University laboratories, and expressed satisfaction with its quality. Manawi said ink might disappear temporarily with the use of chemicals, but that it would reappear on the finger after a little time and even with a darker complexion.

Polling Center Openings

Manawi noted that the IEC had planned to open about 5816 polling centers across the country, and said that it had opened 5,355 polling centers as of the morning.

18,611 polling stations were supposed to open; the IEC confirmed the opening of 17,045 polling stations, or about 92% of all stations. The IEC said it did not have information about the remaining 8% of stations, and said further details and a final report would be released at the end of the day.


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