The latest status of election preparations for the Council of Representatives’ Election

At a press conference held at IHEC Media Center on 24 February 2010, IHEC Commissioners and UNAMI’s Chief Electoral Advisor to the IHEC briefed the media on the latest status of election preparations for the Council of Representatives’ Election.

At a press conference held at IHEC Media Center on 24 February 2010, IHEC Commissioners and UNAMI’s Chief Electoral Advisor to the IHEC briefed the media on the latest status of election preparations for the Council of Representatives’ Election.

The success of the upcoming elections depends largely on two important factors, the logistical preparations, and the training of the polling staff, said IHEC Chairman Faraj al-Haydari, in his opening remarks, emphasizing that “despite difficulties, threats and assassination attempts on IHEC staff, including one not later than today, nothing will stop us from moving ahead, and from continuing with our state of readiness”.

Pointing out that around one million Iraqi will be involved on Election Day, including Iraqi Security Forces, observers and IHEC cadres, in providing security as well as a smooth running of the process, al-Haydari appealed to all political entities to abide by the regulations, to media to work with impartiality and last but not least, to the voter who is the final judge “not to sell his voice”.

All relevant election material, including ballot papers, voters’ lists and forms, polling kits, ballot boxes and voters’ screens are ready. 26.8 million ballot papers for in-country voting, and 1.39 million ballots for out-of-country voting were printed in a secure printing company in the United Arab Emirates, and delivered.

The ballot papers contain anti-fraud and anti-copying features. Highest international standards and strict control measures were applied at the printing facilities, with support of UN advisors. These security features include watermark embedded in the sheet, an ultraviolet 5th colour (that is visible only under a UV emitting light) and an IHEC micro text. An additional security feature was used by the printer (Guilloche pattern) which is similar to security features for money printing. In addition, each ballot paper has a serial number, fixed in the stub of the ballot.

54,000 polling station kits, 10,000 polling center kits, 15,000 training kits, 54,000 stamps, as well as 108,000 bottles of indelible ink were produced and assembled in China and Lebanon. 100,000 new ballot boxes were produced in China. They will be delivered from 22-28 February to the Governorate Election Offices’ warehouses.

 “More than 350,000 polling staff are being trained in order to ensure a successful election. To do this quickly, efficiently, and for nationwide consistency, a “cascade” approach was used, that is, training a core group of trainers over a series of levels. They in turn, train others”, said IHEC Commissioner Karim Tamimi. By Election Day, all the polling staff will be trained on helping Iraqi voters to cast their votes and on ballot counting. The cascade programme started on 10 January and will be completed by 5 March, two days before Election Day. 30,000 additional poll workers have been similarly trained on the procedures for Special Voting.

Speaking about the Out-of-Country Voting, IHEC Commissioner Ayad al-Kinani said that most of the countries where out-of-country voting will take place have already received their material. “129 centers and 829 stations will open in 57 towns in the 16 countries where the vote will take place”, he added saying that he expected some 400,000 voters will cast their ballot and that anti-fraud measures are in place.

In her closing remarks, Chief Electoral Advisor to the IHEC, Sandra Mitchell said that the UN was confident in IHEC procedures on detecting and preventing any fraud, in addition to the fact that “civil society and political entities will be all watching each others”, which in other words, helps neutralizing any fraud attempt from one party.

Addressing some media concerns regarding the printing of up to 7 million additional ballots, Sandra Mitchell explained that the number of ballots ordered is reasonable and fulfils normal international practice for election planning, which is to have spare materials that can be used in the event of any contingency. “The standard practice is to have a material reserve of between 5-10%. IHEC has adopted a reserve percentage of 7% which equals a total ballot print of approximately 28, 200,000”, she indicated.
 

Last modified on Sunday, 28 February 2010 03:00

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