On October 20th, Afghanistan held its first elections since 2010, showcasing the determination of its citizens to ensure that its democracy persists. Here are a few stats to show the stark differences between Afghan and U.S. elections:
- Afghanistan held its elections over two days, on Saturday and Sunday, to ensure that as many people as possible could get to the polls.
- Women in Afghanistan made up around 33% of voters despite facing discrimination during the voter registration process.
- 45% of registered voters voted in Afghanistan – 8% higher than the U.S.!
This kind of turnout is immense compared to the consistently low participation in U.S. mid-term elections, especially considering that this all occurred in the face of extreme violence on and leading up to Election Day, which ended in 78 Afghan voters and 10 candidates losing their lives. Many Afghans felt moved to participate in the democratic process in the country they love: for instance, take Roya Saberzada, a member of Free Women Writers who reflected in a blog post about her experience voting in Afghanistan for the first time.
The final results for the election will not be available until late December, but even the preliminary statistics on voter turnout has proven how engaged Afghans are in their political process despite daily threats of violence. Through this lens, it’s easy to see just how often Americans take our ability to vote for granted.
But not to worry: there is still time to get involved in this year’s election! If you are already registered, you can use this website to see a sample of what will be on your ballot with descriptions of each candidate and ballot measure. You can also check out our #VoteFeminist Digital Organizing Toolkit to amplify the mid-term election via social media and our Vote Feminist Campaign to learn more about your voting rights as a student and mobilize your friends and peers and get out the vote on campus.