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Global Knowledge Network On Voter Education - learning from each other

Enhancing Participation of Special Groups of Voters

The Iraqi election law is keen on the inclusion of all Iraqi voters in the electoral process. The commission, since its inception in 2004, is keen to apply the law and take special measures for ensuring the right to vote to all voter categories. There are certain categories of Iraqi voters abroad like representatives of the diplomatic corps. There are also the voters like the Iraqi security forces, the patients and staff in hospitals, the security personnel in the prison as well as the guests of the Iraqi prison terms of less than 5 years. The concern of the law is to provide voting rights for all these kinds of groups on the basis of the constitutional rights granted by the constitution, which was by referendum in 2005 for the need for all Iraqis to enjoy the same basic freedoms.

The Commission, in addition to setting the timetable for elections and the development of the technical details of the electoral process, is educating voters in general on how to exercise their electoral right properly.

Inclusion of Iraqi voters abroad
NewsLetter In accordance with Iraqi election law, the Commission has developed procedures to ensure the right to vote for the Iraqis abroad in the parliamentary elections. In 2005, the Commission did not have the detailed and accurate information about the number of Iraqis abroad. But later years of 2010, it requested the assistance of the Organization (IOM) for the election procedure abroad. In 2014, IHEC made Iraqi employees aboard to vote from different countries of the world through conduct of elections abroad amounted to Iraqis voting from twenty countries. For the staff on diplomatic missions, the voting was conducted in the same polling stations where votes were cast by Iraqis abroad and outside the buildings, embassies and consulates chosen by the Commission. IHEC is developing an integrated educational program to educate voters abroad on how to exercise the voting process to ensure they vote properly.

Inclusion of Iraqi security forces NewsLetter
Iraqi law allows the Iraqi security forces to vote, and the voting process for them is conducted two days before the day of election. While the security forces of the army and police vote in special centers, but the process of counting for this category takes place later when the process of counting the public vote is conducted. The Commission is also interested in an elaborate scheme to educate security forces around the polling station on voting. In order to secure their votes image the plan includes, lectures to members of the security forces and the distribution of publications and posters in addition to advertising on satellite channels.

Special Voting facilities for the staff and patients in medical hospitals
The law also authorizes for the patients in hospitals and the doctors, nurses and personnel working in hospitals to vote in elections where IHEC takes special measures for them to cast their vote on the same day as the vote of security forces, and also the Commission is keen to prepare an educational plan for this segment in order for them to have good knowledge on how to vote at the special voting centres.

Voting Arrangements for the staffs and security personnel working in prisons and inmates
The law of election rule also states that the inmates sentenced for in less than 5 years are eligible to vote in the elections in addition to security personnel working in prisons where IHEC has developed special procedures for them to vote on the same day as the vote of security forces, two days before from the day of the public vote.

Voting by staff Working at the polling stations
The staff which has been assigned management centres at the polling stations vote in the same centers where they work according to a private set by the electoral governance mechanism. In fact they cast their votes at the beginning of opening polling stations and then allow voters to vote so that it does not affect their work for the management of the centres and the stations’ electoral process on the polling day.

The plan for educating the voters of these categories by the election administration





We mentioned that the law of the Iraqi election allowed the voting rights to these categories. IHEC believes that the legal right alone is not enough. The voter must have detailed knowledge of all the instructions for the electoral process in order to ensure the voting is done properly and for maintaining the voting electorate. So IHEC has put smart plan for the voter education process for these categories through several measures like taking direct educational lectures, advertisements in satellite channels, publications and educational posters, advertisements on roads and others. To ensure the plans yield best results, IHEC, through election educational institute in Iraq has held several technical workshops with the diplomatic staff as well as for the staff working in the field of elections, and also representatives of various civil society organizations, as well as agents and representatives of political parties. The Commission believes that ‘Candidates in the elections and the electoral process as well as all partners’ must be well informed on all details of the electoral process in order to vote the right way. Iraq today is a democratic country now since 2003. To some extent the Iraqi administration electoral held more than 10 large electoral processes, including the referendum process to the Iraqi constitution in 2005 which has gained Iraqi Leasing electoral accumulated expertise in the field of labor in the elections, where the United Nations High Commissioner body provided technical support and training to Iraqi staffs at the inception. These staffs have gained experience through continuous work in holding the elections. Today, the Iraqi electoral administration represents a model of professional administration in the Arab region. It has the oldest electoral administration in the Arab region and has great staff with extensive experience in the field of work as well as in the field of education .It has built electoral capacity through electoral education institute of the Iraqi electoral administration. It is worth mentioning that this status enjoyed by the Iraqi electoral administration has been based on the involvement with the rest of the electoral departments in the Arab resistance spot, with the support of the program by UNDP and the Arab Organization for Electoral Administration, which today comprises 10 Arab countries as a professional establishment for technical cooperation and exchange of experiences between the electoral departments in the Arab region as well as the cooperation between the organization and other like organizations in the world.

Safaa Ibrahim Jasim
Commissioner, IHEC