The OTB Guide to the Iraqi Elections

For some reason, I’ve seen very little general information about Sunday’s vote in the press, so I took the time to compile a few numbers. It’s always good to have a firm grasp of the basics; if nothing else, it helps in identifying political spin. Hopefully, this post can provide a bit of context.

The Vote

  • More than 14 million Iraqis and over 280,000 expatriates are registered to vote.
  • Approximately 6,000 voting centers span Iraq.
  • Expatriates cast their ballots in 14 different countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Jordan, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kindom, and United States.
  • There are 256 political entities recognized to participate: 27 individuals, 33 coalitions of parties, and 196 parties.
  • There are 18,900 candidates competing in 20 different elections: the national election, the Kurdistan election, and 18 provincial elections.


  • There are 60 million individual ballot sheets and 90,000 ballot boxes in Iraq.
  • More than 200,000 Iraqis have signed up as poll workers or monitors.
  • About 200 Iraqis will “put together the final tally of the [voting] results” in Baghdad headquarters.
  • Forty UN electoral assistance officers will provide technical support.

Public Opinion

  • About 65% of Iraqis are “very likely” to vote; 17% are “somewhat likely.”
  • In Baghdad, 58% are “very likely”; 17% are “somewhat likely.”
  • In Kurdish areas, 74% are “very likely”; 18% are “somewhat likely.”
  • In Sunni areas, 21% are “very likely”; 32% are “somewhat likely.”
  • Among Shiites, 77% are “very likely”; 14% are “somewhat likely.”
  • Among Kurds, 71% are “very likely”; 19% are “somewhat likely.”
  • Among Sunnis, 20% are “very likely”; 29% are somewhat likely”; and 29% are “very unlikely.”

Take these International Republican Institute poll data with a grain of salt. According to the Christian Science Monitor:

Final Drive to Coax Sunnis to Polls

[…] Election officials say actual numbers will probably be below these figures.

“What people say they’re going to do and what they actually do is not always the same,” says a Western election adviser. “People are reluctant for or a variety of good reasons — if a bomb goes off and they feel they need to stay away for the safety of their family, that’s very understandable.”


FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. carpeicthus says:

    Thanks for this.