According to several Iraqi's, the allocation of
their food rations was dependent upon their
"voting" in the "election."
They said that their names had to be marked on a
list by the government agency that controls the
allocation of monthly food rations before they
would be allowed to vote.
Wassif Hamsa, a journalist from Baghdad said that
he had to give his name and address to staff at
the voting centre, and then he was sent to the
agency to get his monthly food ration.
Mohammed Ra'ad, from the Baya'a area of Baghdad
had a similar experience.
Mohammed Ra'ad, an engineering student who lives in
the Baya'a district of the capital city reported a
"Two of the food dealers I know told me personally
that our food rations would be withheld if we did
not vote," said Saeed Jodhet, a 21-year-old engin-
eering student who voted in the Hay al-Jihad district
Many Iraqis had expressed fears before the election
that their monthly food rations would be cut if they
did not vote. They said they had to sign voter
registration forms in order to pick up their food
Their experiences on the day of polling have under-
scored many of their concerns about questionable
methods used by the U.S.-backed Iraqi interim
government to increase voter turnout.
Just days before the election, 52 year-old Amin
Hajar who owns an auto garage in central Baghdad
had said: "I'll vote because I can't afford to
have my food ration cut...if that happened, me
and my family would starve to death."
Hajar said that when he picked up his monthly
food ration recently, he was forced to sign a
form stating that he had picked up his voter
registration. He had feared that the government
would use this information to track those who
did not vote.
Calls to the Independent Electoral Commission
for Iraq (IECI) and to the Ministry of Trade,
which is responsible for the distribution of
the monthly food ration, were not returned.
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