IHEC: all EVMs are back in service

IHEC: all EVMs are back in service

Shafaq News/ The Chair of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), Jaleel Adnan Khalaf, said on Sunday that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) "dysfunctioned" and did not "malfunction", stressing that all EVMs are back on duty.

In a press conference he held earlier today, the chair of IHEC's board of Commissioners said, "only a few EVMs dysfunctioned because of human errors."

"All the devices are functioning properly now. There are no dysfunctions and the plan is running as devised," he said, urging the citizens to head towards the voting booths and cast their ballots.

Technical problems on the morning of the election day brought Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) down in Hammam al-Alil sub-district in Nineveh, which impeded the voting process.

Locals told Shafaq News Agency correspondent, "more than three thousand voters in this center are forced to use a single ballot station because all the machines, except for this one, are malfunctioning."

Many voters are heading back to their homes, locals said.

The Independent High Electoral Commission's office in Nineveh said that the complaints were reported, and maintainance works are underway.

"We have 140 teams in the governorate. The issue will be resolved as fast as possible," he asserted.

Shafaq News Agency correspondent to Najaf said that 30 ballot stations are out of service due to EVM malfunctions in the sub-districts of al-Manathera, al-Haydariya, and al-Heera, in addition to al-Jdeidat neighborhood in Najaf district.

Our correspondent said that all the EVMs are not functioning in a center in al-Qadisiyah sub-district in Najaf.

Observers in the governorate reported flagrant violations in the ballot centers of Hay Maysan school and the School of Martyr Naim Naffakh. They told Shafaq News Agency correspondent that some parties exert pressure upon the voters near the ballot centers.

The observers called on the security authorities to address those violations that affect the course of the election process.

Voter turnout rates in Diyala -particularly in major cities- lack momentum, according to observers in the governorate.

Field observations made by Shafaq News Agency correspondents reflected poor voters' turnout throughout the disputed governorate, except for Khanaqin, where the citizens exhibited a better appetite for casting votes.

According to our correspondent, EVMs in some ballot centers in Khanaqin and Baquba broke down for unknown reasons, and IHEC teams are troubleshooting the issue.

Ali Daoud, the Deputy Commissioner of al-Habbaniyah district, east of al-Anbar governorate, said that voting turnout rates have increased remarkably compared to the morning hours.

"More than 50,000 persons are eligible to vote in al-Habbaniyah. Ballot centers are 16, distributed throughout the district," he continued.

Leaks from the district revealed that nine EVMs, from a total of 11, in the eastern Hasiba territory, are not in service under the pretext of a password change that requires resending the password from Baghdad.

When asked about this issue, Daoud said, "I knew about it from social media, but I have no information about its credibility. I need to look into the situation before making any statements."

The local official asserted, "so for, no violations to the election code have been reported until the moment. Security control and compliance with the instructions of IHEC are on point."

Since 0700, voters headed to the polls to elect a parliament that many hope will deliver much needed reforms after decades of conflict and mismanagement.

The vote was brought forward by six months in response to a popular uprising in the capital Baghdad and southern provinces in late 2019, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest endemic corruption, poor services and rising unemployment. They were met with deadly force by security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas. More than 600 people were killed and thousands injured within just a few months.

A total of 3,449 candidates are vying for 329 seats in the parliamentary elections, which will be the sixth held since the fall of Saddam Hussein after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

More than 250,000 security personnel across the country were tasked with protecting the vote. Army troops, police and anti-terrorism forces fanned out and deployed outside polling stations, some of which were ringed by barbed wire.

"Get out and vote, and change your reality for the sake of Iraq and your future," said Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, after he cast his ballot at a school in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, home to foreign embassies and government offices.

"To those who hesitate, put your trust in God and go and choose those you deem appropriate," he added, reflecting concerns over a low turnout. "This is our opportunity."

The 2018 elections saw just 44% of eligible voters casting ballots, a record low. The results were widely contested. There are concerns of a similar or even lower turnout this time.

Various Irregularities marred the morning of the general election day in several ballot centers throughout Iraq, observers reported less than six hours since the beginning of the polls.

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