by Christina Dietmeier, WAND Intern, Arlington MA
Image: Women of Afghanistan stand outside the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Source: White House, via Wikipedia Commons.
At 20 years old, my election experience is very limited. Of the three ballots I’ve cast, two of them were sent absentee. My one in-person voting experience was in 2011, where the only question on the ballot had to do with a levy in my school district. I remember being perplexed with the lack of security at the polling place. I walked in, told them my name and address, and got my ballot. That was it. I was in and out in less than five minutes. When voting absentee in the 2012 Presidential election, the only difficulty I encountered was finding a fellow Minnesota resident on my Boston college campus to sign my ballot as a witness. Of the many people I knew who were voting in person, either in Boston or back home in Minnesota, the only concern I heard of was the long wait in line to cast your ballot.
In Afghanistan on April 5th, voters were concerned with much more than the queue they had to wait in. Leading up to the election, the Taliban released several statements in an attempt to deter voters. In their most strongly-worded statement they vowed to “use all force at its disposal to disrupt these upcoming sham elections; target all its workers, activists, callers, security apparatus and offices and the nation.” (x) The Taliban’s statements were followed up by actions – in the two months prior to Election Day, 39 suicide bombers were unleashed across the country. These threats lead the Afghan government to instill heavy security measures at polling places to avoid further attacks.
Read More →