U.S. voters cast votes in Iraq election: 'It's amazing'

Chicago Tribune
Sun, Apr 27, 2014

by Kate Thayer

The Skokie, Illinois polling place is one of nine spots in the United States and the only Illinois location where the Independent High Electoral Commission oversees "out-of-country" voting, said coordinator Ninous Badeen. Early voting in 13 countries outside Iraq was expected to take place Sunday and Monday, he said. Iraq will host its election Wednesday.

About 9,000 candidates are running for 328 seats in the Parliament, Badeen said. Those 328 representatives will in turn elect the Iraqi President and Prime Minister. "It's beautiful," he said, adding the number of candidates has grown since the last election in 2010.

On Sunday, many Iraqi-American voters said they felt a responsibility to vote because violence in their home country stops their family and friends from doing so.

One group drove through the night from Lincoln, Neb., to vote Sunday in Skokie. After casting their ballots, they joined other voters outside the polling place, chanting, cheering and holding up their fingers to show the purple ink that indicates they took part in the process. They said it was important for them to show up and have a say in who is governing their home country.

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