Voting in Iraq

We take voting quite for granted here in the USA. Over there, they face death threats to vote.

Here is an item from AP at Yahoo! News. Excerpt:
YOUSSIFIYAH, Iraq - Just ahead of the first free balloting in Iraq (news - web sites) in half a century, the nation battened down for the vote, imposing a 7 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew on Friday and closing Baghdad International Airport. Five U.S. soldiers were killed in the capital

The curfew will remain in effect through Monday and the nation's borders will be sealed for the election period. Medical teams are on alert and nationwide restrictions on traffic will be imposed from Saturday to Monday to try and deter car bombs.
Iraqis living in the US are voting in various locales in the USA as told in this news item. Excerpt:
SOUTHGATE, Mich. - Hundreds of Iraqis streamed into polling places in five U.S. cities Friday, the first day they could vote in their homeland's election. Nearly 26,000 people have registered to vote in five U.S. metropolitan areas with heavy Iraqi populations: Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles and Washington.

Tens of thousands more are expected to vote in 13 other countries during balloting that runs through Sunday.
Southern California's El Toro Marine Air Base is hosting voting as reported here. Excerpt:
Thousands of Iraqi exiles begin voting today in out-of-country elections at special polling places at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Orange County, across the nation and around the world, juggling a mix of jubilation, fear and resentment.

While some local Iraqi expatriates revel in the chance to vote in their homeland's first election in decades, others fear their vote could cause retribution against family members back home. And some are angry at election officials who they say failed to reach out to the expat community.

"I am happy we are voting and it is a historical day," said Hatif Navi, 46, of Calabasas. "But people are still reluctant. They are afraid of threats in general whether directly or through their family," said Nvai, who is president of a local Iraqi social club.

The election takes place in Iraq on Sunday, but election officials have organized three days of voting, ending Sunday, for Iraqi exiles in 14 countries. The voting process has already started in Australia.

Navi and other San Fernando Valley area Iraqis will vote at El Toro, one of five U.S. polling places and the only one west of the Mississippi River.

To cast a ballot, voters had to register at the El Toro site during a nine-day period that ended Tuesday. About 4,000 Iraqi exiles and their children -- some of whom are eligible to vote even though they were not born in Iraq -- have registered. Many drove more than 24 hours from as far away as Seattle to register and they will make a return trip this weekend to vote.

Despite officials extending registration days and hours, only six percent of the 70,000 estimated eligible Iraqi exiles in and around California registered.
The Afghans were able to pull off the voting without too much trouble. Here's one blogger raising a toast to the Iraqis for their courage to try to build a future!

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