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Sonia Nettnin: Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program

Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program


By Sonia Nettnin

Beginning January 17th, Iraqis who live abroad can register to vote in Iraq’s January elections.

The Iraq Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) Program established the web site http://www.iraqocv.org, for expatriate Iraqis who want to vote in the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly election in January 2005.

According to the web site, “The National Assembly will…write a draft of the permanent constitution for Iraq, elect a President of Iraq and two Vice-Presidents, and legislate and exercise oversight the work of the government.”

The assembly will have 275 members.

The International Organization for Migration implemented the OCV program, on behalf of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI).

The OCV program spans fourteen countries, which include: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Jordan, The Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and The United States.

The site lists the specific cities for voter registration and polling station locations in host countries. The program’s process requires people show up in-person. Voter eligibility requirements are on the web site.

The program has a link to a downloadable file, which contains information about the candidates certified to run in the election. The site notes people should check the site regularly for specific locations and updates.

Registration is from January 17th through the 23rd and voting will be January 28th through the 30th. The program will have 900 registration-voting stations in 150 locations worldwide.

The IECI allocated $92 million for this program because of security costs.

The web site conveys the program is a voter education campaign for public awareness. The slogan for the campaign is: “Wherever I am…my heart is with my homeland The Future of Iraq has a voice: your vote!”

Leaflets, posters and educational materials are available in Arabic, English and Kurdish.

Help lines are in the listed countries, along with contact information.

*************

Sonia Nettnin is a freelance writer. Her articles and reviews demonstrate civic journalism, with a focus on international social, economic, humanitarian, gender, and political issues. Media coverage of conflicts from these perspectives develops awareness in public opinion.

Nettnin received her bachelor's degree in English literature and writing. She did master's work in journalism. Moreover, Nettnin approaches her writing from a working woman's perspective, since working began for her at an early age.

She is a poet, a violinist and she studied professional dance. As a writer, the arts are an integral part of her sensibility. Her work has been published in the Palestine Chronicle, Scoop Media and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. She lives in Chicago.


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