Sept. 10, 2009, midnight
Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission has invalidated all ballots from several dozen polling stations following evidence of fraud in August 20's first-round Presidential election. According to Afghan and donor countries' officials, about 15 percent of polling stations never opened on Election Day, yet they reported election returns overwhelmingly favoring incumbent President Hamid KARZAI. According to one preliminary estimate, only 25,000 people voted in KARZAI'S home province of Kandahar, while that jurisdiction reports a turnout of nearly 350,000. According to KARZAI'S campaign manager, several candidates had committed fraud. With more than 70 percent of votes tabulated, KARZAI leads with 49 percent against challenger Abdullah ABDULLAH'S 32 percent. KARZAI needs an absolute majority to avoid a runoff.