UN continues to respond to candidates’ technical concerns on audit
KABUL - Even as the comprehensive audit of the presidential run-off approaches completion, the United Nations is continuing to respond to new technical issues and concerns when raised by the presidential campaigns. This is part of its previously stated commitment to work with both campaigns to respond to any issues which would further the overall objective of the audit to separate fraudulent ballots from valid votes.
Recently, on 23 August, the Reform and Partnership Team raised claims of similar handwriting being found across multiple results sheets. If supported by evidence, the existence of similar signatures on results sheets from different geographic locations would require a thorough investigation and robust response. At this point however the UN would caution against making predictions about the possible impact of these claims before a proper inquiry has been carried out.
In order to enable such an inquiry, the UN requested the Reform and Partnership Campaign to provide it with supporting evidence for their claims, as well as a letter formally requesting this issue to be brought to the attention of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
On 28 August the Reform and Partnership Campaign provided the UN with printed copies of the results sheets from the approximately 2,200 polling stations it claims display similar handwriting. Although a letter asking the UN to formally bring these claims to the attention of the IEC was only received yesterday, the UN has already introduced the issue to the IEC.
Prior to receiving this documentation, the UN established a dedicated seven-person team from among the electoral experts participating in the audit. The team conducted research to ascertain whether the issue of similar handwriting across multiple results sheets has been raised in any other countries’ elections and, to date, has only identified one case. The expert team also prepared a draft proposal with investigation procedures and invalidation criteria for handling these claims that was shared with the IEC Secretariat on 31 August.
The UN has meanwhile informed the Continuity and Change Campaign of existence of claims of similar handwriting across multiple results forms so that it has the opportunity to respond accordingly.