CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, June 9, 2014, the House will consider H.Res. 600, Urging the Government of Afghanistan, following a successful first round of the presidential election on April 5, 2014, to pursue a transparent, credible, and inclusive run-off presidential election on June 14, 2014, while ensuring the safety of voters, candidates, poll workers, and election observers, under suspension of the rules. H.Res. 600 was introduced on May 28, 2014 by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. The bill was marked up by the Foreign Affairs Committee on May 29, 2014 and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.
H.Res. 600 commends the Government of Afghanistan for a successful first round of the presidential election on April 5, 2014 and expresses strong support for a credible, inclusive, and transparent runoff on June 14, 2014. The resolution encourages the Afghan Government to implement anti-fraud measures and work to increase voter participation, particularly among women. H.Res. 600 supports the mandate of Afghan electoral bodies to oversee the process in a transparent, fair, and credible manner, and encourages such bodies to adopt measures to better mitigate fraud. The resolution urges close coordination between Afghan electoral bodies and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to secure vulnerable areas, and encourages people to refrain from fomenting violence in voting areas. H.Res. 600 supports the full participation of the Afghan people in the election and recognizes that a democratically-elected government reflecting the will of the people will promote stability and security in the region. The resolution recognizes that the United States maintains an enduring national security interest in Afghanistan, with a shared goal of defeating al-Qaeda and combating terrorism. H.Res. 600 recognizes the sacrifices of U.S. and coalition armed forces that have contributed, and will continue to contribute, to security and stability in Afghanistan.
“President Hamid Karzai has served as president [of Afghanistan] since late 2001; he is constitutionally term-limited and will leave office after the conclusion of presidential and provincial elections . . . .” On April 5, 2014, the Government of Afghanistan held a successful first round of the presidential election, with voter participation at sixty percent. Prior to certifying the election results, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) invalidated votes from 331 polling stations based on Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) decisions. The IEC certified the results and announced the need for a runoff election on June 14, 2014, as no single candidate received more than fifty percent of the vote.
There were widespread reports of voter and election monitor intimidation, including attempts to bribe election officials. Seventeen members of the Afghanistan National Security Forces were killed in Taliban and insurgent attacks while supporting the first-round elections, but “no voters apparently were killed in election day violence. [One thousand] polling centers did not open due to anticipated violence. Some polling centers ran out of ballots because turnout was heavier than expected, although voting hours were extended in order to allow time for extra ballots to be transported to those locations. International officials, basing initial judgments from preliminary and partial results add that fraud is likely to be far less a factor than was the case in 2009. Still, there have been over 3,000 fraud complaints, of which 870 are serious enough to have potentially affected the outcome—that compares to 815 complaints at that level of seriousness in 2009.”
 Kenneth Katzman, CRS: Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance (May 12, 2014) at Summary.
 H.Res. 600.
 CRS: Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance at 30-31.
A CBO estimate is not available at this time.
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