Iraqi-American Votes Rejected; Protest Looms

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Assyrian Chaldean protestors who believe their votes were marginalized in last week’s Iraq election were gathering outside Bella Banquet Hall in Warren at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 12.
A third of the ballots cast in the U.S. are being rejected, according to Zowaa, the Assyrian Democratic Movement.
Zowaa reports that Arbil, Iraq’s headquarters for the Out of Country (OCV) Voting program, is telling U.S. voting center directors to throw away ballots, apparently because voters did not show proper identification. Many of the rejected votes came from Christians.
In Michigan, 2,000 out of 6,100 ballots cast at Bella Banquet Hall in Warren have been rejected, and 700 out of 3,000 ballots cast in Dearborn. In Arizona, 600 out of 2,400 votes have been rejected and in Chicago, 1,100 out of 3,500 were rejected. There is no word yet on the validity of votes cast in California.
Before OCV voting began last Friday, there were some issues over how Iraqi-Americans could prove their eligibility to vote. It appeared that Christians would be disenfranchised from the vote “and we were going to demonstrate and raise hell,” said Dr. Noori Mansour.
The issue appeared to be solved after last-minute negotiations with the International High Election Commission, but Mansour believes that was just to appease Christians now that the votes are being tossed out.
“It is political to eliminate our vote,” he said.
Bella Banquet Hall is located at 4100 E. 14 Mile Road in Warren.
Hy Safran
Outreach Coordinator & Michigan Scheduler
Rep. Gary C. Peters, MI-09
U.S. House of Representatives
248.273.4227 – 202.225.5802 www.peters.house.gov
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