Polls to Vote in Iraqi Parliamentary Election Open in the United States and the World

Iraqi citizens living abroad will be able to vote for Iraq’s Council of Representatives

The polls for Iraq’s 2010 parliamentary elections will be open from March 5‐7 in countries around the world. The Iraqi Ambassador to the United States will visit the polling stations in Washington, D.C. to cast his vote and to celebrate the elections.

Out‐of‐country voting (OCV) is particularly important in societies that have seen a large displacement of their population. According to Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), there are over 200,000 Iraqi eligible voters in the U.S. alone. This exercise is especially meaningful during this election as it is the first time out‐of‐country voters will be able to vote for Iraq’s Council of Representatives (CoR) by showing proof of Iraqi citizenship, age and connection to one of Iraq’s 18 governorates. Previously, Iraqis who were voting out of country could only vote for national candidates.

“I appreciate the opportunity to vote in Iraq’s elections from abroad because there are many different points of view and interests in the country, and it is our responsibility as Iraqi citizens to express our individual positions so that we may reach a middle ground as a nation,” says Mohammed Al‐Khalaf, an Iraqi citizen now living in Virginia.

The countries in which OCV is available this year are Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the U.S.

In the United States, polling stations have been established in the 8 cities with the largest concentrations of Iraqi immigrants: Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and San Diego, California; and Washington, DC. The polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. all three days.

At the request of the IHEC and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) ‐‐ the world’s premier election assistance and democracy promotion NGO ‐‐ is assisting the IHEC in the implementation of its OCV program for the 2010 parliamentary elections. IFES has representatives advising the IHEC in 15 of the 16 countries (all except for Iran). In the United States, IFES has out of country voting advisors working with the IHEC country managers in Washington, DC and in Detroit, Michigan.

For more information about OCV, please see IFES’ briefing paper:

Electoral Technical Assistance for Iraq for Out of Country Voting »

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The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is the world’s premiere election assistance organization, providing countries with technical advice and tools to run democratic elections.