Ballots for Afghan elections were pre-marked for Karzai: The Guardian

      Some ready-to-cast ballot papers for Afghanistan's presidential election were pre-marked for Hamid Karzai, footage obtained by the Guardian has revealed. Ballot papers pre-marked for Hamid Karzai that were seized by monitors. The ballots appear to be stamped with the monitors' seal and ready to cast. The monitors filmed then destroyed the papers to stop them being used. The footage was taken by two election monitors who inspected a book of 100 ballot papers, which were still stitched together, as they were intended to arrive at the polling station in rural Afghanistan. "But, instead of being pristine, ready for the voter to make his or her mark, each paper bears a large blue tick next to the name of one candidate: Hamid Karzai," the report says. "We found it the day after the elections. They were trying to put it in one of the [ballot] boxes but didn't have time, so we took it home and filmed it. If we had given it back to the election committee they would have used it again, so we burned it," the paper quoted one monitor, as saying. Numerous other evidences have surfaced not only in support of the vote-rigging theory, but also to suggest that the idea of the election being fair was laughable in Afghanistan. An election official showed a photograph of a man marking a big pile of ballot papers in the name of Hamid Karzai. Another picture shows a pile of election ID cards spread in front of an unidentified man wearing black shoes, the report says. "This man brought 120 cards and he used each of them to vote three times. I thought I would give the pictures to the election committee. But they were all working for Karzai," said the official, who fled to Kabul fearing that he might have been caught taking pictures. "Everyone was cheating in my polling station. Only 10 per cent voted, but they registered 100 per cent turnout. One man brought five books of ballots, each containing 100 votes, and stuffed them in the boxes after the elections were over," he added. According to the paper, the vote had come down to a battle of budgets, with agents for both Karzai and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, giving money in exchange for votes. "Karzai's men were paying 1,000 Afghani per family and Abdullah's were paying 1,500 Afghani," villagers of Ahmad Aba district in Paktiya region said.

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