Electoral Technical Assistance for Iraq for Out of Country Voting

Publication Date: 
4 Mar 2010

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At the request of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), IFES is assisting the Commission in the implementation of its Out of Country Voting program (OCV) for the 2010 parliamentary elections. Iraqi citizens abroad will be able to a cast a ballot for candidates at the governorate level with proof of Iraqi citizenship, age and connection to one of Iraq’s 18 governorates.

From March 5 ‐ 7, 2010, out of country voters will have the opportunity to vote in Iraq’s Council of Representatives (CoR) elections, which will represent a major political milestone for the development of democracy in Iraq. Previously, Iraqis casting ballots abroad were only able to vote at the national level. Furthermore, the out of country voting operations are significant as they are likely to impact international perceptions of the overall success of the 2010 CoR elections.

Out of country voting will be the same as in‐country with OCV voters voting directly for their governorates. However the 2010 OCV operations will differ in several ways from those in 2005 based on some important lessons learned. For one, registration and voting will take place simultaneously over a period of three days beginning March 5, 2010. Additionally, counting of the ballots will take place at the polling station in a concerted effort to enhance transparency. Nevertheless, significant operational complexities exist for the Iraq out of country voting in 2010. Perhaps the most notable challenge remains the short timeframe within which out of country voting operations must be set up.

Out of country polling centers have been established in 16 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

In the U.S., polling stations have been established in 8 cities with significant concentrations of Iraqi immigrants: Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and San Diego, California; and Washington, DC.

IFES is supporting the IHEC with a team of 8 IFES experts based at the OCV headquarters in Erbil, Iraq who are working with the IHEC out of country voting team. Additionally, 24 IFES country advisors have been deployed to 15 countries to further provide direct support to the IHEC country managers.

Support for the IHEC

IFES aims to provide technical assistance and support to the IHEC in designing, preparing and successfully implementing the OCV operation for the Council of Representatives 2010 election. In this capacity, IFES has been assisting and advising on OCV operations, procedures and training, public outreach, procurement, and IT.

The IHEC also receives technical assistance from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) with whom IFES is cooperating as well. IFES’ support to the IHEC on out of country voting will continue following the elections through March 31, 2010.

Polling Center Locations in the United States US City

Polling Center Address

Washington DC

Hilton Arlington Hotel, 950 N. Stafford St., Arlington, VA 22203

Detroit, Michigan

  1. BanquetHall, 4100 E. 14 Mile Road, Warren, MI, 48092
  2. Dearborn Tree Manor, 5101 Oakman, Dearborn, MI 48126

Chicago, Illinois

1919 A Pickwick Ln., Glenview IL 60026

San Diego, California

1340 Broadway, ElCajon, CA 92021

San Francisco, California

Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566

Nashville, Tennessee

4527 Nolesville Pike, Nashville, Tennessee, 37211

Phoenix, Arizona

American Banquet Hall,2713 W Northern Ave, Phoenix, Arizona, 85051

Dallas, Texas

Crossroads Hotel and Suites, 3135 E. John Carpenter Highway, Irving, TX 75062