As Afghanistan approaches their August presidential election, the potential for voter fraud that infringes on women's rights is gaining visibility. Women have been registering to vote in suspiciously high levels in regions of the country where women rarely travel. In a press conference, Dr. Sima Samar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission explained that "men are just bringing the names of a woman and getting registration cards on their behalf and that is why I can say there is a possibility of fraud," Reuters reported.
Samar further explained "Two issues are of concern for me. First is that the right of the woman to cast her vote will not be given to her, and the second is that it's possible that there will be serious fraud in the election by this method," reported the Associated Press.
Kai Eide, the United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan, told Reuters that "Of course we are worried about the irregularities [in registration], but...there is still a possibility to correct much of this on polling day....We know that during the last election there was rather serious fraud at that level on polling day and immediately afterwards, and that is what the system we are trying to put in place now is intended to minimize."
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/4/09; Reuters 5/3/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .