UN welcomes Afghan electoral authorities’ first decisions on audit

25 Aug 2014

UN welcomes Afghan electoral authorities’ first decisions on audit

KABUL - The United Nations welcomes today’s announcement by Afghan electoral authorities of the first official decisions on the findings from the 100 per cent audit of the Presidential run-off election of 14 June.

"The first set of official decisions from this unprecedented audit is an important milestone towards the goal of separating fraud from valid votes,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš, “However, it is still premature to draw conclusions about the final audit result based on these initial findings. All parties should continue to respect the process so as to not create unrealistic expectations.”  
The UN notes that of the 3,644 ballot boxes that were the subject of this first set of decisions, approximately 79 percent of boxes were validated and 21 per cent were found to contain some form of irregularities such as broken seals, results forms that did not reconcile or improperly and similarly marked ballots.  The boxes with irregularities included 72 that were completely invalidated today by the Commission and 697 for which the Commission has ordered full recounts. These 697 recounts have already been physically carried out and can lead to partial or complete invalidations of boxes. The results of these recounts will now be decided upon by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in its upcoming sessions over the next few days.  
Today’s findings originate from information taken from each audited ballot box that is recorded and then entered into the database in the presence of observers and party agents.  None of the 6,000 ballot boxes identified by the Presidential candidates as requiring so-called ‘special scrutiny’ were part of today’s first adjudication decisions.

"All parties will be better able to make assessments on the results in days ahead as the IEC releases its further decisions, including the results of the recounts ordered today and the 6,000 ballot boxes identified for special scrutiny by the candidates themselves," said Mr. Kubiš.
More than 70 percent of 22,828 ballot boxes have now been audited under the UN-supervised process.  Of the over 15,000 boxes processed to date, over 30 percent have also been provisionally recounted due to a finding of some irregularity in the physical audit. It is therefore expected that future sets of decisions by the IEC will include higher proportions of recounts as compared to today's first batch.

The IEC intends to release regular batches of findings as they become available in coming days in parallel to the conclusion of the physical audit of the remaining approximately 7,000 ballot boxes.
In view of the unique and important role played by the two presidential campaigns, including their full access to the audit and genuine joint oversight over how it is designed and conducted, the UN continues to urge them to take every step to assist with the acceleration of the audit in order for it to be concluded at the earliest time.