Voters voting. As it should be (apart from the bombs).

Below is an excerpt from a NYTimes blog reporting on today’s Iraqi parliamentary elections as they unfolded. First, note that 62% of eligible voters in Iraq voted – despite today’s and the past week’s violence intended to suppress the vote. Second, note that women voters were right there, undeterred.

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“In Amariyat al-Fallujah, a rural region near the city of Fallujah, Anthony Shadid reports [for the NYTimes] that veiled women almost outnumbered men, as voting drew to a close at al-Iman Middle School. Electoral officials at the station said about 50 percent of people had turned out. Numbers were low in the morning as a series of bombings shook Fallujah, but grew through the day, said Osma Mohammed, on of the officials there.” (emphasis added)

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The obvious observation is, of course, that we US voters don’t need threatened or real physical risk to stay home from the polls. We succumb to the less dramatic but significantly more effective ennui. When next we hear from a fellow registered voter that they can’t be bothered to thoughtfully consider their choices, mark a ballot, and get it to the Department of Elections (no more taxing than dropping a vote-by-mail envelope in a postal box), let’s remind them of the courage demonstrated by the Iraqis who literally risk their lives, standing in line in open spaces, to cast their ballots. We’ll be polite about it, of course.

Note that there is a statewide election on June 8. The San Francisco Department of Elections must receive requests for vote-by-mail ballots by June 1. The request form is located here, but hasn’t been updated for the June election. Confirm your own registration is current here.

Amazing, those Iraqis. LLII.

ps. A recurring theme at election time in developing democracies is the crucial role of the election monitors. Something to think about incorporating here in the US. Lawyers and law students, as the November election approaches, be alert for volunteer opportunities with the non-partisan Election Protection.

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