One thing that we have learned in recent days for instance is that people who were tracking the number of voters going to the polls versus the number of votes reported demonstrate in some of the most dangerous provinces that it may be as many as 10 times the number of people of votes in the ballot boxes as observers believe actually went to the polls.  You had a huge problem of polling stations returning ballot boxes full of votes that never opened.  So this first thing that happened is that the turnout was quite bad.  The second thing that happened was that there was real concrete and obvious evidence of fraud.  There is an electrical complaints commission in Afghanistan that is a joint international Afghan body, it is created under Afghan law, it has five commissioners, three of them are international and two of them are Afghan and they have responsibility for judging any complaints that come in to the electrical process.  They immediately received a flood of complaints right after the elections, several thousand complaints and when they reviewed these complaints, they realized that perhaps 700-800 of them were so serious that they could potentially when added up affect the outcome of the election and so they went to three provinces where there were a lot of complaints and they started opening ballot boxes and saying okay we have to see what is going on here and they found really gross and obvious evidence of fraud.

They found ballot boxes where, so you imagine a ballot box, it is a plastic box with a cover and a slit on it in order to get the vote in, you have to fold it up at least twice stick it in the box and they found boxes full of ballots that had never been folded.  They found boxes with ballots where ever you know, like all of the votes were for one candidate and with the identical pen and the identical check mark.  Videos emerged on YouTube, you can see these if you type Afghan elections fraud into YouTube. Videos emerged on YouTube of men surrounded by ballot boxes taking books of ballots, flipping them over, marking them, flipping over marking them.  They found some ballot boxes that actually had the ballot book in without the ballots having even been torn out and when they added this all up well and then the most obvious widespread signs were that we knew that each ballot box essentially were signed 600 votes because the registration process in Afghanistan does not assign voters to a specific poll.  So they had to estimate that a maximum of 600 voters could show up in each poll even if they knew that it would likely only be 200.  What happened?  They start counting all of these boxes in places where you had 10%, 20%, 30% turnout all of the boxes had 600 votes, 595 votes, 605 votes.  So we knew turnout was low but turnout was at 100% levels at the same time you would count and you know, 95%, 96%, 98%, 100% of the votes were all for one candidate, you know, and these sorts of things only happened in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and in the Soviet Union where the voter turnout is sort of 99% in favor of one candidate.

And so because of all of these signs of fraud, they decided that they had to do a nationwide investigation and so they established two criteria.  One was that any ballot box with 600 or more votes had to be examined and any ballot box where 95% or more of the votes were for one candidate had to be examined.  And establishing these two criteria they turned up about 4000 out of 25000 polling stations, but the number of votes is even higher than the percentage of those polling stations would suggest because so many of them had 600 votes, it turns out to be anywhere between 25 and 30% of the total vote having to be re-examined.  Now so you have this political crisis where everybody is saying there is massive fraud, the election commission, the independent election commission is posting totals that show Karzai winning because they included a lot of these bad votes and you have this process where you have to examine ballots from 34 different provinces.  So the electoral complaints commission decides that it is going to do a statistical sample of this problem group of votes and they are going to examine only 10% of the problem group and they are going to look and see how bad the fraud is from all of these different and then from there they are going to extrapolate and figure out what the total is and so we are now engaged in that process, they are opening up boxes from 34 provinces and reviewing the votes and basically President Karzai would need to lose somewhere probably between 500 and 700, well in total there would need to be somewhere between 500 and 700,000 votes rejected in order for a runoff to be called.

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