Media Hot On the Trail of Potential Voter Fraud in Iraq

There’s been much debate since America liberated Iraq some 31 months ago concerning whether or not this nation could ever become a true democracy. The events of the past couple of days indicate that this region is taking quite well to an American-style government, and that it’s party officials have quickly learned that if you don’t like the results of an election, just get an attorney to file some complaints demanding a recount.

Of course, as one would expect, America’s press are eating this up. For instance, the Associated Press reported:

“BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq’s electoral commission said Monday it intended to audit an ‘unusually high’ vote count from most provinces in the country’s landmark referendum on the draft constitution.”

“The electoral commission’s statement came as Sunni Arab lawmaker Meshaan al-Jubouri claimed fraud had occurred in Saturday’s election — including instances of voting in hotly contested regions by pro-constitution Shiites from other areas — repeating earlier comments made by other Sunni officials over the weekend.”

All three broadcast networks filed reports concerning these fraud allegations on their respective evening news programs, including “The NBC Nightly News”: “In Dialah, one Sunni politician said there were 39,000 yes votes, even though there are only 36,000 registered voters.” Sounds a lot like media reports from Ohio after last November’s elections in America.

What follows is a full transcript of NBC’s report, along with a video link.

***Update*** NBC’s “Today Show” jumped on the election fraud bandwagon this morning. Campbell Brown said, “Election officials in Iraq are counting votes again." Video Link.

Williams: Now we go to Iraq, where election officials say they have to recheck the vote totals in several areas where the results were almost unanimously in favor of the new constitution in that national referendum there this weekend. More from Richard Engel tonight in Baghdad.

Engel: The pictures showed jubilation as Iraqis went to the polls on Saturday to vote on a constitution. The Shiite dominated government says 10 million Iraqis voted, a 60% turnout. But tonight there are serious questions about the overwhelming number of yes votes. Iraq’s electoral commission said late today it is launching an investigation after finding quote “an unusual high number of yes votes in about a dozen provinces where, in some cases, 99.9% of the voters cast ballots in favor of the constitution.” In Dialah, one Sunni politician said there were 39,000 yes votes, even though there are only 36,000 registered voters. But observers say no matter what, Sunni involvement is proof they now want to participate in the political process.

Iraqi Newspaper Editor: It’s not important whether they say “yes” or “no.” They understand that this is the way to decide their future. That's the big step forward.

Engel: Tonight at a Ramadan dinner with western journalists, Iraq's prime minister didn't mention any allegations of ballot stuffing. He stresses hope Saturday's referendum marks the end of religious politics here. But, a fraudulent vote could only make the situation worse. Richard Engel, NBC news, Baghdad.

Video Link

Iraq NBC NBC Nightly News Associated Press
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