Political parties in the autonomous Kurdistan Region are concerned that new electronic cards that voters will use in Iraq’s parliamentary elections in April can encourage irregularities, because the system is not fully computerized. Kurdish officials worry that the new cards contain several flaws. They note that because polling stations are not connected by computer, any card holder can vote more than once at different election booths. Another concern has been that cards are issued on the basis of old voter lists, containing names of people who are long dead, or common names appearing more than once as different individuals. “The fear is what happens to the additional cards that are not received by people; how about the duplicate cards and the dead people?” wondered Aram Sheikh Muhammad, an elections official of the Change Movement (Gorran).
“These are a number of issues that we need to have serious reservations about,” said Muhammad, attending a conference in Erbil to discuss the new system. He complained that the Iraqi Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC) was not serious about addressing the issues.
Khasraw Goran, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) election department, echoed the same concerns about repeated names and deceased voters, saying that the only merit of the cards was that they applied some new technology.
“When it comes to the names, numbers and the names of the voters, nothing is new in this (smart card),” he said. “Others can vote for the dead people, too,” he added.