A voter casts his ballot during Afghanistan's 2009 election.
In 2009 and 2010, the steady stream of news from Afghanistan shifted from the war to the country’s elections. The big story was that the polls were undermined by widespread accusations of fraud.
As Afghanistan prepares for the 2014 presidential and 2015 National Assembly elections, the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) is hoping to ensure that these next polls are not marred by the same issues that undercut previous elections. As part of that effort, the IEC invited the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to provide assistance in assessing and managing fraud risks.
From January 21-31, three IFES team members (Senior Global Electoral Adviser Staffan Darnolf, Europe and Asia Regional Director Chad Vickery and Deputy Director Vasu Mohan) traveled to Afghanistan to conduct an electoral integrity review.
Beyond Kabul, assessment mission members also visited the cities of Jalalabad and Herat to meet provincial stakeholders.
The review focused on feasible areas for fraud and malpractice mitigation in the country prior to the polls. Their assessment drew on an innovative IFES methodology for assessing electoral integrity challenges.
The IFES methodology covered approximately 20 areas of the electoral process, with in-depth analysis of the issues most relevant to Afghanistan. This tool uses a combination of desk research and in-country interviews with election stakeholders to produce both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the risks for fraud, malpractice and systemic manipulation of the electoral process.
Preliminary findings were presented to the IEC and members of the donor and diplomatic community on January 30. A full report is expected by the end of February.
Read IFES’ three papers on assessing electoral fraud:
Assessing Electoral Fraud in New Democracies: A Basic Conceptual Framework
Assessing Electoral Fraud in New Democracies: A New Strategic Approach
Assessing Electoral Fraud in New Democracies: Refining the Vocabulary
Read more about IFES’ work in electoral integrity and transparency.