The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday said it had adopted a new voter registration plan for presidential and provincial council polls, accepting both old voting cards as well as computerised identity cards.
IEC Secretary Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhel told a news conference in Kabul that the old voting cards would be acceptable without the panel’s approval. The plan was approved after a series of consultative meetings with stakeholders, including mainstream political parties and civil society organisations.
Under the plan, the commission would start distributing new cards to the people who recently became eligible voters or had no cards. The distribution would start to nearly three million people in April at a cost of $20 million from the development budget of the commission, he added.
Amarkhel said the panel wanted to open offices in provinces and districts to issue voting cards for two months. The commission will send voting cards before the 2014 elections to the districts where the current security situation is unfavourable.
In case electronic identity cards were issued, eligible voters could use them in exercising their right to vote, the official explained. The distribution of computerised ID cards is scheduled to get under way in March.
The commission had prepared a list of 7,000 voting centres, which would be shared with security personnel in February, the secretary revealed. Security forces would subsequently present their assessment to the panel before electoral plans were finalised.
Amarkhel viewed cooperation from the government, spiritual leaders, civil society organisations and representatives of political parties as another factor that was necessary for transparency in the elections.
He promised the commission would not reappoint the workers who were accused of committing fraud in the previous election. The IEC would do all it could to avoid a repeat of the disorder seen in the past, he concluded.