The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has appointed 1,500 new employees to oversee voter registration for their parliamentary elections in September. Another 50,000 will be brought on under contract as well by the Kurdish electoral commission. When Iraq held its may parliamentary elections, widespread accusations of fraudulent voting practices were echoed throughout Kurdistan by several political parties. Now, the KRG is attempting to prevent a repeat of those events.
Electoral commission member Jurtiar Adil told local media that,
Updating the voter registration has turned into a sensitive subject. We have suggested that parties themselves choose the people they want to update the registration within the conditions and standards set by the commission. These people have now been recruited and will start their work in the coming days. The salary for the manager of a center is 600,000 dinars (roughly $500), his deputy 550,000 (roughly $462), and employees 500,000 (roughly $420) dinars per month.”
During the registration process, the newly assembled team will work for three or four months. Previously, efforts were being made to modify the old registration forms but it was eventually decided that new ones would be created based off existing food ration forms. Kurdistan‘s Regional High Independent Referendum and Electoral Commission director of data Karwan Jalal made this known in June. He told reporters that, “Instead of cleaning the voter registration, which would take a long time, the commission has prepared a new voter registration for the upcoming elections of Kurdistan.”
Kurdistan‘s concern over the accuracy of voter registration is still a top priority. Worry of fraudulent practices and efforts to mitigate them are the number one concern of Kurdish officials especially after Iraq’s recent chaotic election season. According to the current electoral commission, it is anticipated that nearly 100,000 names will be needing removal from the voter list due to the “voter” being a repeat or deceased. Electronic voting will not be used since it was deemed a catastrophic failure after Iraq’s May elections and the corresponding amount of backlash from both politicians and the public would make it a poor decision. Considering the allegations of fraud, Iraq has demanded a complete manual recount of votes from the May elections.
Featured image: Female voters display their purple finger tips after casting ballots at an elementary school in Nasiriyah March 7. By law, women must fill 25% — 82 out of the 325 — parliamentary seats. The heavy purple dye reduces attempts of double-voting fraud. No election day violence occurred in Nasiriyah, Iraq’s fourth largest city bisected by the Euphrates River in the southern province of Dhi Qar. Iraqi security forces were responsible for all security. | By 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division