KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has rejected as false rumors regarding invalidation of 500,000 non-biometric votes after a fake Facebook page claimed so.
After the September 28 presidential election, the IEC said around 2.7 million people had participated in the poll.
However, IEC officials on Monday said the data of more than 1.7 million biometric voters had been entered into the database so far.
After the announcement, a number of social media users published wrong information and a fake Facebook page linked to the IEC chief in a post said that the commission had invalided around 500,000 votes.
The news of invalidation of 500,000 votes was first published by a fake Facebook page attributed to Hawa Alam Nuristani, the IEC chief, with around 23,000 followers and the post was also shared by other people. This page was created on March 5, 2019.
Anotehr Facebook page also attributed to Hawa Alam Nuristani has 44,000 followers and was created in 2012.
This page contains topics in favor of Hawa Alam Nuristani during parliamentary election in 2018 when she was a canddiate.
However, Nuristani said both the Facebook pages were fake.
Noor Rahman Akhlaqi, a member of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s ticket, in his Facebook page said, “So 500,000 non-biometric votes are invalidated, but what about repeated vote and repeated photos.”
Zalmai Zabulai, a senator from Zabul province, also said in a post on Facebook that the IEC has invalidated 500,000 votes.
However, Fraidoon Khwazon, spokesman of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, on his Facebook page said that a million of fraudulent votes had been invalidated, taking their team closer to victory.
A number of other Facebook users also said the IEC has invalidated 500,000 non-biometric votes. This topic has also been circulated by dozens of other social media users.
Mirza Mohammad Haqparast, a deputy IEC spokesman on his Facebook page said, “This Facebook account does not relate to Hawa Alam Nuristani and we do not have information about this page.”
On the other hand, Zabihullah Sadat, acting IEC spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the rumors about invalidation of 500,000 non-biometric votes were baseless. He said the IEC had so far made no decision about non-biometric votes.
Habib Rahman Nang, IEC secretary, said that only biometric data of voters had so far entered into the system.
It comes a day after the IEC said more than 1,737,078 biometric votes from 22,588 polling sites had been entered into the system.
According to IEC officials, biometric votes of 3,980 other polling sites would be added to the system in next one day.
They said the election had been expected to be held in 29,586 polling sites but 3,018 of them stayed closed on the Election Day.
Maulana Mohammad Abdullah, a comissioner of the IEC, said that the vote count was a multiple-stage process which could be done only in the central system.
“The central system can manage and categorize biometric votes, non-biometric votes, votes cast before or after the time, repeated votes and repeated photos,” he said.
Election oversight institues say it is the IEC right to invalidate votes and act accordign to the law.
Yousuf Rashid, executive director of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FFEFA), said that invalidation of votes in line with the law was the right of the IEC.
He asked candidates and their supporters not to get engaged in any issue irrelevant to them and let the IEC do its work independently and according to the law.
The result of fact check:
Pajhwok Afghan News critically evaluates speculative posts on social media about presidential runners, explains their factual health and place them in different categories – true, not-so-true, half-true, little true and untrue.
Pajhwok’s assessments show that rumors regarding invalidation of 500,000 non-biometric votes are baseless and the Facebook page that posted this rumor was fake and did not relate to Hawa Alam Nuristani.
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