Diane in Afghanistan

This is a historic time for the people of Afghanistan. I am reminded of the timeless truths that have guided our nation through the past two centuries, and how those same profound words now hold such hope and promise for the new democractic nation of Afghanistan. "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights... of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

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Location: Bellevue, Washington

Friday, September 16, 2005

...And There are No Provisional Ballots

For a comprehensive list of news stories related to the Historic Elections being held in Afghanistan Click Here

It's back to visions of fingers in black ink.

We have just finished our first briefing from numerous organizations regarding the elections on Sunday. The Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), operating under the auspices of the United Nations, is running Sunday's parliamentary elections. The JEMB has 13 members - nine are Afghans and four are members of the international community. These include individuals from Australia, Sweden, Britain and India -- one from each country.

As Americans, we have seen hanging chads and heard about the numerous issues surrounding voter roles and provisional ballots. But here, the JEMB has had to deal with numerous issues that officials would never face during an election in the United States.

For example, nearly 80% of the women and more than 50% of the men are illiterate. As a result, the majority of the population cannot even read a ballot. The JEMB has developed a system that allows for voters to pick their candidates using pictures and symbols. The ballot system uses a picture of each candidate and assigns a "symbol" to that individual candidate. For instance, one candidate's symbol is a donkey; another's symbol is a camel. The JEMB identified about 250 symbols that were easily recognizable by all Afghans. Because there are more than 400 candidates for the Nangarhar province alone, there were not enough symbols to go around. As a result, candidate 1 may have (1) camel as a symbol and candidate 2 has (2) camels as a symbol. It makes for a unique ballot. A copy of the ballot was given to us today and it is over seven pages long. And we thought we had a lot of items on our ballots in Washington State!!!!

To ensure that no one votes twice, each voter will be asked to dip his or her finger into black ink before the ballot is given to that voter. Afghanistan used this system in 2004 for the presidential elections, but unfortunately, the ink did not stay. We have been given guarantees that this year, they are using a better ink. The voters will be instructed to let the ink dry before they mark their ballots.

Voters in Washington State will not be surprised to hear that there will be NO provisional ballots. If a voter turns up at the wrong polling place, the election official will not allow that voter to cast a ballot.

There are more briefings to come, and the excitement is building for Sunday's elections.

Sincerely for freedom,



Blogger Island Republican said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Island Republican said...

Maybe King County should adopt certain Afghanistan voting procedures. I like the idea that all candidates choose a symbol recognized by all citizens in Washington State.

What do you think Ron Simms and David Irons would choose?

Also, the black finger is much better than provisional ballots.

Good luck and Godspeed on your mission of spreading democracy.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Cynthia Cole said...


Richard and I are praying for you daily during your trip to Afghanistan.

I am glad to read that the Afghans are desiring accountability in their voting process.

I am also praying for the country and people of Afghanistan.


6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are delusional

al fallujah

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw you on Lou Dobbs today (5/31/2006) and have to agree it is time the 14th ammendment be looked at closely due to massive abuse.
I can tell you that being a long time democrat, I will NOT be voting for my Democrat Senators this time around, nor when the next one runs for re-election.

1:56 AM  

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