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This Makes Me a Little Nervous

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Nashville is one of the places where Iraqui's are going to be able to vote in the Iraqui election that is supposed to take place on January 30th. I just heard on the news that they are going to have a "gathering" place that is located less than 2 blocks from my house where the people who are voting are going to be checked in and then transported to the voting area. They said that the security is going to be very high.

The thing that makes me nervous is having something like that so close to home. There are obviously a lot of people are who are doing their best to see to it that the elections don't happen.....or that Iraqui people are not able to vote. Having the main gathering location 2 blocks from my home, makes me worry that it could bring the terrorists or other crazies right to my neighborhood. I worry that someone may try something to hurt all these people who are trying to vote.

January 12, 2005

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Iraqi expatriates will meet at a park and then ride buses to polling locations, according to plans laid out by election organizers in Nashville on Wednesday.

Karen Hirschfeld, head of the Nashville voting office for the International Organization for Migration's Iraq Out-of-Country Voter program, said eligible voters will meet at Whitfield Park to be cleared by security before boarding one of at least five buses and taken to one of two polling locations.

"They must show up at the park," Hirschfeld said. "If they show up at either of the registration sites during the registration or voting periods, they will be turned away and asked to return to the park."

The two voting sites will have a total of 10 polling booths. After registering Jan. 17-23, eligible voters must return to the exact polling booth where he or she registered when returning to cast a vote Jan. 28-30.

The Iraqis must return twice because of an international standard, Hirschfeld said, that requires the voting rolls to be publicly displayed on Jan. 24-25. The ballots will be published only in Arabic or Kurdish, but will include party symbols and numbers.

Hirschfeld, who was familiar with elections in Afghanistan, said the illiteracy that plagued those elections shouldn't affect this one.

"The Iraqi population has a much higher literacy rate than the Afghan population," she said. However, voters will be allowed to choose someone to help them vote if they desire.

Dan Hodges, a former FBI agent now with OPSEC Consulting, is coordinating the security effort and is in touch with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"We're going to do everything we can to make it a safe and secure event for them," he said.

Hodges said to ensure voter safety, eligible Iraqis would not be allowed to bring anything to the park besides their forms of identification.

"We want to stress to the Iraqi community not to bring any bags, backpacks or anything that anything can be concealed in," Hodges said. "All they're to bring is their identification only."

Neither Hirschfeld nor Hodges would name the size of the security staff made up of private consultants and off-duty police officers from the Middle Tennessee area.

"As many as it takes to do the job," Hirschfeld said. "If you think about it, we need to secure three different locations and they need to be secured 24 hours a day. I don't want to put any numbers on it."

Hirschfeld said a staff of 75 poll workers had been hired and that everyone would finish training by Friday.

She estimated that 16,000 Iraqis were eligible to participate in Tennessee and surrounding states. About half of that number are believed to live in Nashville.

Hirschfeld couldn't say if it would be possible for Iraqis to register and vote in two places.

"I don't know, it would be very hard," she said.
post #2 of 11
I can certainly see why you would feel nervous about this, Robin, especially with it taking place only a couple of blocks from your home. I hope you can take comfort in knowing the security will be so incredibly high, and their mission is to not allow anyone to disrupt the election and to keep the public safely out of harm's way.
post #3 of 11
That's right Stephanie...............it'll be ok Robin.......
post #4 of 11
I can understand, Robin. It's good that they are taking high security steps because these people need a chance to vote. I would be a little comforted in knowing if they can secure something as large as Times Square on New Year's , then certainly they can take care of this, too.
post #5 of 11
I had no idea ther was such a thing. I think I would be a little nervous, too, security or not.
post #6 of 11
I would be nervous, too, Robin. I'm sure security will be super super tight so try not to worry too much.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I know you guys are all right....and there's probably no reason at all for me to worry. But the gathering place that they are talking about is actually at the park where my youngest daughter plays softball every year. And this area, where I live, is a highly populated middle class area......it would be a great place for terrorists to strike if they wanted to cause some damage and affect the elections or at least cause a lot of publicity regarding their cause.
post #8 of 11
I can understand you being nervous, I would be too
post #9 of 11
I'd be nervous too. It's strange they chose such an open public place.
post #10 of 11
I'd be very nervous. I am sure security is preventative, not becuase they expect anything to really happen.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
They just reported on the news tonight that one of the state representatives is opposing the park as the staging area for the Iraqui election. He said that he wasn't consulted on the location and feels that because it's such a populated residential area, that it will likely affect the traffic in the area as well as the potential for violence. He's already gone to whatever committee that is in charge of this and saying that they need to find a different location.

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who thinks that bringing thousands of Iraqui's to this neighborhood for a highly contested election is a bad idea.

I hope they do choose a different location.
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