Local Iraqi Man Speaks About Election

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

More voted and less died than predicted in Iraq's election Sunday.

Salam Allaltell, an Iraqi man who has lived in Charlottesville since 2003, described everyone as happy after the election.

"All people's is happy. They are different, but they are happy." Salam rattled off a list of all the ethnic groups in the country and said they were all excited to vote.

Salam is from Najaf, a predominantly Shiite area, but he says it's all the same. Despite, the Sunnis pledging a boycott and violence for those who disobeyed, Salam said Sunnis and Shiites are no different. He said they have the same history. He said in three to four years, everything will be stabilized because those fighting, the remnants of the Baathists party, will be tired.

About 60 percent of Iraqis turned out to vote. Salam said those who didn't vote, probably wanted to, but were afraid of the militants. "No one like Baathi, or Saddam, but they are afraid, because they kill so many people," he said.

These people weren't able to vote because they feared for their lives. Salam wasn't able to vote either, but for a very different reason.

"I am very sorry that I am not able to vote because, my car is broke," he said.

There are only five voting centers in the U.S. for about 90,000 Iraqis. Many had to travel hundreds of miles away, some through snow storms to register and, again, to vote. Salam had a friend who started to drive three hours from Nebraska to Chicago to vote, but had to turn around because of a snowstorm.

Salam thinks for next time, there needs to be a change. "Next election I think that every state needs one center for a vote," he recommended.

Salam wants this change because he plans to stay here in Charlottesville.

"It's very nice in Charlottesville. I am very very happy in this city," said a smiling Salam.

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