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ABCNEWS VideoSource
World Iraqis 2 - WRAP Iraqis in various nations register to vote
NAME: WOR IRAQIS2 170105N TAPE: EF05/0057 IN_TIME: 10:45:05:07 DURATION: 00:03:09:01 SOURCES: APTN DATELINE: Various - 17 Jan 2005 RESTRICTIONS: SHOTLIST APTN New Carrolton, Maryland January 17, 2005 1. Welcome sign on table near entrance of Washington-area polling centre 2. Iraqi family walks into polling centre 3. Men hanging Iraqi flag 4. Poll worker points the registrant towards table 5. Iraqi men at information table 6. Walking shot of polling centre 7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Ali Hussain, Washington-area Operations Manager, Iraq Out of Country Voting "They're very excited. You know, this is the first time in most of their lives that they're able to vote and they're able to exercise they're rights as citizens." 8. Dr. Mahdi Abdullah signing registration form, tilt up to polling security officers 9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Dr. Mahdi Abdullah, Iraqi living in New York "Basically, we've been waiting for this election for so long. We have to, we have to participate in the election, we have to use our right for election and we have to vote." 10. Iraqi man with children having his photograph taken 11. Iraqis walking around polling centre APTN London, UK January 17, 2005 12. Exterior Wembley stadium where Iraqi voters are registering 13. Pan round hall where voters registering 14. Election officials in blue sweaters 15. People at the tables registering 16. Various people registering 17. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdullah Muhsin, Spokesman for Iraqi Trade Unions "I feel jubilant, I feel great, good. I'm a 50 year old man and this is the first time I vote as an Iraqi. So of course it is very important and very good day in my life, I'm glad that I have the chance to vote." APTN Damascus, Syria January 17, 2005 18. Woman arriving to vote, going through security 19. Various of woman registering to vote 20. Man registering to vote APTN Tehran, Iran January 17, 2005 21. Exterior Nader Sport Complex where Iraqis can register to vote 22. Interior, Iraqis registering 23. Iraqi women registering for elections 24. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Narjes Kazemi, Iraqi voter "Elections are fair here and Iraqis are provided with security. We have registered freely to bring back freedom to Iraq. So that the security and stability would return to Iraq. And with God's help, we can go back to our country." 25. Registration cards for identification of registered people STORYLINE Iraqi expatriates in 14 countries on Monday began registering to take part in Iraq's first independent election in nearly 50 years - with many confused about the fledgling political process and unsure who to vote for. Iraqis from the Washington, DC area and surrounding states started registering. By midmorning, more than 100 people had gone to the registration centre at a hotel about 15 miles outside Washington. After providing evidence of Iraqi nationality, they were added to registration lists and given a receipt to present when they return to vote next week. Security as in other such centres around the world was tight. Those registering had to pass through a metal detector to get in, and security officers - both uniformed and plain clothed - were numerous. The poling site at a Ramada Inn next to the Capital Beltway is the only place for Iraqis living in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to vote. In the US, there are four other polling places: in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Nashville. For thousands of Iraqis in the US who want to participate in the voting process, the journey to do so is a long one. Many have to travel several hours just to register, and then return next week to vote. But for Doctor Mahdi Abdullah, who woke at 2am to drive down to Washington from New York, the thrill of registering to vote for the first time in his life outweighed any difficulties. Officials from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which is running the overseas voting for the Iraqi government, predict that roughly 22-thousand Iraqis will vote at the Washington location. Busloads were expected to arrive over the next several days from Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Organisers said nationwide there were approximately 240-thousand Iraqis eligible to vote. In Britain, there are an estimated 150-thousand Iraqis eligible. While they won't face the bombs and bullets threatening polling stations throughout Iraq, many have complained about the process. Across Britain, there are only three polling centres - in Glasgow, Manchester and London - forcing expatriates to travel long distances - first to register, and then again to vote. At the London centre, a cavernous conference hall near Wembley Stadium, early arrivals trickled through airport-style security, including the X-raying of bags. Most said the vote was the first chance they would have to participate in the democratic process. Voters also began to register in Syria, Damascus and in Tehran, Iran. Saddam Hussein's regime held referendums on his more than two-decade military rule, but they were widely dismissed as fabrications. The dictator claimed to have won the last vote in 2002 by an 11 (m) million-to-0 margin with a voter turnout of 100 percent. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq in Baghdad authorised an out-of-country vote in November and enlisted the International Organisation of Migration to organise it. The Geneva-based group chose 14 nations with large Iraqi populations to host the January 30 ballot for an assembly that will draft a constitution. Votes may be cast in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Jordan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The seven-day registration period ends January 23; voting will begin January 28 and continue until the January 30 election in Iraq for an Assembly that will draft a constitution and choose a president.