Campaigning has started in Afghanistan for next month’s parliamentary elections amid concerns that the much-delayed vote could be postponed again due to the uncertainty over new technology. The vote for the lower house of parliament has been scheduled for October 20 – delayed by more than three years – and is seen as a test for the presidential elections that will take place in April. New government measures hope to put an end to the previous issues they have faced. With election fraud now being a criminal offence, voting stations will be placed in public buildings and monitored. Additionally, a new advanced voting system will be used.
The election commission said it has acquired more than 20,000 biometric devices for facial recognition and finger printing to prevent voter fraud, but only 4,000 have so far arrived in the country. The operators have not yet been trained.
Despite the issues, many still remain optimistic.
“The biometric system is good. Because many national identity cards are fake and there is fraud. Votes can be bought. It has a lot of impact on our lives,” Zubair Ghafoori, an Afghan student, told Al Jazeera.