Turnout good at Fairplex

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! POMONA – At times Thursday, the flow of voters trickled into the Hinds Pavilion at Fairplex and at times they came in by the busload. Iraqi expatriates and Iraqi Americans continued coming to take part in the Iraqi elections to select a 275-member Iraqi Parliament on the final day of voting. According to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, the three California polling places – Pomona, San Diego and the Bay Area – were the last places anywhere in the world to close due to time difference. Iraqis from the Southland and surrounding states traveled to Fairplex to cast their vote. Among them was Ali Abutabikh of Mission Viejo. “I’m 75 years old, and it’s the first time in my life I’m voting for any Iraqi government,” he said. “It’s a rare occasion in my life.” Although it frustrates him that he can’t travel and join friends and colleagues in his homeland, Abutabikh said voting is one way of playing a part in the effort. “My fate is this. I’m lucky to be alive,” he said. David Yousif, California spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said Thursday the electoral process has been going smoothly. “It has been as good as expected,” he said. Wednesday was a busy day but Thursday morning started with the arrival of 200 voters who arrived in buses from Seattle and Arizona, he said, and other large groups were expected. Inside the voting area, every time a voter dropped his or her ballot into the box poll workers broke out in applause. Another voter Thursday was Layla Shaikley of Upland, a political science major at UC Irvine. Her goal is to become an architect one day and use her skills in Iraq. She was born in the United States but she is eligible to vote because her father was born in Iraq. Once conditions in Iraq become more stable, Shaikley plans to go there to do her part to help rebuild the nation. Austin McCormick is an observer with the International Mission for Iraqi Elections. The Whittier resident said Thursday the electoral process had so far been “open and transparent.” McCormick’s work did not end with the close of the polls at 9 p.m. Thursday. He would remain on site until counting was completed, he said. Yousif said the tally would be sent to Washington, D.C., which is in charge of collecting results for all of the U.S. polling places. Those results will be shipped overnight to Jordan and then to Iraq. [email protected] (909) 483-9336.last_img

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