Iraq expat voter registration deadline extended after low turnout

Iraq expat voter registration deadline extended after low turnout

[JURIST] The International Organization for Migration [official website] which runs the Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program [Iraq OCV official website] announced Saturday that it has extended by two full days the registration period for overseas absentee voting in Iraq [JURIST report]. Registration, scheduled to end Sunday, will now continue through Tuesday [Iraq OCV press release] because turnout is currently far below expectations. Fewer than one in ten eligible Iraqis living abroad have registered so far, with some speculation that the Muslim festival of Eid [Wikipedia article], which ends Sunday, may have kept registration low. The Iraq OCV running tally of registration figures indicates that worldwide only 132,000 expatriate Iraqis have registered for the January 30 poll. The extended period will apply to all 74 registrations centers in the 14 countries where Iraqis are able to register and vote, pending host nation approval. This is the second extension of regitration; on Wednesday this week, the daily registration period was extended two additional hours into the evening [Iraq OCV press release] to allow Iraqis to register after 5 PM local time. The Iraq OCV website Saturday carried an urgent appeal to potential voters:

Iraqis abroad…The future of your country needs your vote!

There are only days left to register to make a difference! An Iraqi, who works as a driver between Baghdad and Amman says, “We’re looking forward to the day we can put our mark on Iraq’s future with a mark on a ballot paper. Then maybe our work will change and we’ll start taking people home again.” Today is that day! Make your mark on Iraq’s future with your mark on the ballot paper by REGISTERING TO VOTE!

Don’t lose this historic opportunity to join together as Iraqis living abroad and cast your vote for your country’s future. The Iraqi people count on your vote to preserve their freedom, their dignity and the future of their children. The little time that you take to register and vote in this election will make a difference to the future of Iraq.

AP has more.