Of the nearly 800,000 forms issued to voters without identification for use in the July 28 election, about 270,000 were issued between the end of the voter registration period and the election itself, raising concerns among observers they could have been used fraudulently. According to National Election Committee (NEC) Secretary-General Tep Nytha, about 480,000 new Identity Certificates for Elections (ICE) forms were issued during the registration period in late 2012, while a further 270,000 were issued in the lead-up to the election. But Laura Thornton, country director of Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), said it seemed highly unlikely that so many people had misplaced their identification papers and needed an ICE form as a replacement.
It is important “to go back to the real problems that we saw leading up to the election, which is disenfranchisement and use of the ICE—people who were not allowed to vote and people who shouldn’t be voting but did, using the ICE,” she said.
Ms. Thornton said the NDI had made a number of requests to the NEC to have access to the number of ICEs issued before the election, but had been repeatedly told that the request was “on hold.” She also said the number of people who allegedly lost their IDs was unfathomable.
“The last number I heard was 500,000 and counting…. The only reason that could happen is if there was a tsunami or natural disaster—it’s implausible. This is a problem of disenfranchisement, and the only way to resolve disenfranchisement is unfortunately through re-polling.”