Afghan election commission extends voter registration deadline


KABUL -- The deadline for Afghans to register to vote in the October 20 legislative elections has been extended, officials said Friday (May 11).

Enrollment for the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections began April 14 and was originally scheduled to finish in mid-June.

By Thursday (May 10), just over 1.5 million adults had registered to vote, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) told AFP -- a fraction of the 14 million it had hoped to register during the two-month process.

"The election commission of Afghanistan has extended the voting registration process for one month," the IEC said in a statement, without giving a reason for the decision.

Meanwhile, the IEC announced that voters may now use a copy of their national identification certificate (tazkira) to register.

Observers had expressed concern that a sticker placed on voters' tazkiras when they registered could expose them to danger in restive districts from militants.

Officials now will place the sticker on the tazkira copy, but voters will still have to bring their original tazkira to vote, said the IEC.

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A young Afghan man registers his name May 1 at a voter registration centre in Kabul for upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for October 20. [Najibullah]

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