Although official sources are claiming voter turnout in the Iraqi elections to be in the 6070 percent range, my sources in parts of Iraq have painted a distinctly different picture. Perhaps when all the votes are counted the high turnout figures may be correct, but the way some votes were obtained may prove to be highly irregular.
With the closing of the polls in Iraq, a source in northern Iraqi indicated the turnout in the town in which he is situated to be less than 10%. Another military source told me he saw only one Iraqi vote at one of the polling places in Fallujah the entire day and that he had heard similar stories from friends in Samarra.
My source in a northern Iraqi town, population 250,000, said he believed there to be 13,000 to 14,000 votes cast there. He did, however, relate that U. S. military authorities in the area had provided a Sheikh who has been totally supportive of the U.S. occupation, 70,000 blank ballots, supposedly to take to those who were too terrified to come to the polls themselves. Although I have only been told of this practice in one area, one wonders if that activity has been an accepted practice all over Iraq. If this practice is widespread, and blank ballots are only given to those who support the U.S., one could only wonder how many of those ballots will be returned that do not support candidates backed by the Bush administration.
The BBC is reporting large voter turnout in other sections of Iraq, especially in the Shiite and Kurdish areas, while the Sunni areas revealed a much lower participation.
President George W. Bush has declared the election a success. In an open election, the outcome is in doubt until all the votes are counted. Would Bush declare this election a success if the outcome favored those who would order us out immediately or those who support the insurgents? Perhaps having foreknowledge of the outcome helps in making such an assessment. Giving out tens of thousands of blank votes to supporters would certainly help with such a prognostication.
February 1, 2005