Turnout in Afghanistan's presidential election was already a record low, at around 26 percent. But it could sink more as election authorities sift through the votes cast in the September 28 poll.
The election commission could discard more than 700,000 of the 2.7 million votes cast in the poll because they fail to meet new rules aimed at combating fraud.
The hitch could undermine a vote that organizers hoped would mark a turnaround from parliamentary elections a year ago that were tainted by widespread organizational and technical issues and the previous, disputed presidential poll in 2014 that threatened to tear the country apart.
The commission used computerized voter lists and biometric voter verification in an effort to prevent the kind of large-scale ballot stuffing that tainted those elections. It has said it will only validate ballots that meet its criteria.
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