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Election panels at loggerheads over fate of suspicious ballots

The independent election commission and complaints commission are now at loggerheads over the fate of ballots cast without voters passing a hectic biometric authentication, plunging the already blemished elections into crisis.

The bone of contention is the ‘suspicious ballots’ which the complaints commission or the IECC believes are the ones that had been stuffed; a controversy that is seen as a potential challenger to prospects of final election results and pushing the credibility and authenticity of the polls to a new low.

The rift emanates from a drastic malfunction of biometric identification devices in many constituencies and polling stations in several provinces, where people had to bypass a chaotic and lengthy electronic registration and verification to cast their ballots.

Fearing contingency of fraud, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission has ruled that ballots from polling stations where the biometric system was idle will be invalidated.

“In line with the election law, we need to discard fraud ballots as there is no other option,” said IECC Spokesman, AlirezaRohani.

The decision didn’t sit well with the Independent Election Commission with its spokesperson, Hafizullah Hashemi, asking the complaints adjudicating panel to stop making extrajudicial decisions and trespassing its jurisdiction.

“The IECC’s unilateral decision to separate suspicious ballots from ‘white’ votes is an indication of deliberate meddling in the affairs of the IEC,” Hashemi said.

In defiance to IECC, Hashemi asserted that IEC doesn’t seek to discard votes of people and that there could be another way to deal with it. “We will resolve this anomaly through a national consensus in accordance with the election law.”

This verdict could have bad repercussions as millions flocked to the polls with a hope, one that could be dashed after thousands of ballots are scrapped.

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