Afghanistan determined to transfer election data from biometric devices to meet results deadline
The troubled tabulation of votes in Afghanistan’s Presidential election is drawing to a close, as the Independent Election Commission works to process voting data from the remaining 15 percent of biometric devices used in the election, according to TOLOnews. The IEC expects to release the results as scheduled on October 19.
Poor wireless connectivity led the IEC to the decision over the weekend that data must be transferred from the biometric devices used in the election to the IEC’s central computers by installing memory cards in the devices, TOLOnews reports.
A slow data transfer process has resulted in speculation that the results announcement would be delayed, and the country’s Attorney General investigated the delay after a complaint to an Electoral Complaints Commission branch.
With more than 1.7 million votes counted in an election market by low voter turnout, the IEC says data from more than 22,500 of the devices supplied by Dermalog has been transferred to its main server, with votes from just under 4,000 polling sites remaining to be transferred. IEC Head Hawa Alam Nuristani says that 87 results sheets are under investigation, out of more than 25,000 entered into the national data center.
Abdullah Abdullah, a leading candidate, has claimed victory, but The Washington Post reports that his running-mate Asadullah Saadati has also alleged systematic fraud. Saadati says Abdullah’s campaign has emphasized the need to include only those ballots cast through the biometric system, which the IEC has previously confirmed are the only ballots considered valid. TOLOnews reports that the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass has declared Washington’s support for the decision.
“We also discussed the importance of clarifying to the Afghan people how many polling centers and polling stations were closed and where they were located, so as the biometric process goes forward, people have confidence that the electronic results reflects the physical results,” said Bass on a visit to the IEC.