Refugees visit Phoenix to vote in key Iraq election

PHOENIX - Millions of Iraqis prepare to cast their vote for the Parliamentary elections that begin on Wednesday. But in the U.S. thousands started to vote on Sunday.

Many drove cross-country to one of nine polling stations in the United States; Phoenix being one of them.

"I drove 400 miles from Vegas to come here to do my duty as an Iraqi," said Isaac Tomai, who left the country under Saddam Hussein's regime.

"We had no choice but to leave. I remember the images, my brother almost died," said Mona Al-Habi.

Steven Ishak, an Iraqi born citizen and manager of the election site in Phoenix, said today is a day that brings hope to those who fled Iraq years ago.

"Every vote counts," he said.

In order to vote, people were required to have a current Iraq-issued ID or Passport. If they didn't have that, they were turned away. And at the Phoenix polling site, volunteers sent hundreds home.

"They aren't being fair. They aren't letting us vote if we don't have the proper ID" said one individual who was turned away.

Ishak said rules were implemented at each of the polling sites and need to be followed to make sure that each vote is legitimate and counted.

"We have to obey the rules and the rules will bring Iraq to a better place, but the sentimental side, it's like turning down your father or mother and it's really hard," he said.

Those votes will be counted and verified and then sealed and sent over to the election commission in Iraq, who will count and re-verify the votes.

Other polling locations were in California, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan and Illinois.

Print this article Back to Top

Your Region News
West Valley Phoenix Metro Southeast Valley Northeast Valley Northern Arizona Central/Southern AZ