Procedures for voting in the Iraqi election:
VOTING CENTERS: Iraqis will report to 5,220 designated voting centers around the country. The centers will be ringed by Iraqi police and Iraqi National Guard troops, with American and other multinational soldiers in reserve. Voting is set for 7 a.m.-5 p.m. (11 p.m. Saturday-9 a.m. Sunday EST) although the hours can be extended if voters are still in line at closing time.
WHAT'S ON THE BALLOT: Each voter will be given two paper ballots ñ one for the 275-member National Assembly and the other for provincial legislatures. Voters in the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq will receive a third ballot for that region's parliament.
HOW WILL THEY VOTE: Each voter will be led to a cardboard booth to mark the ballots. Voters will choose parties rather than individuals, with the number of candidates seated from each party determined by the party's percentage of votes nationwide. Once the ballots have been marked, the voter hands them to an election worker who drops them into a ballot box. The voter then proceeds to the final station, where an election worker marks his or her hand with indelible ink to prevent repeat voting.
HOW VOTES WILL BE COUNTED: Once voting has ended, election workers will count the ballots at each polling center. Poll workers will report the results to the Iraqi Electoral Commission by telephone and Internet. A tally room has been set up in the commission's heavily fortified Baghdad headquarters. Initial results are expected to be announced within hours after voting ends but the final tally will not be known for a week to 10 days.
IRAQIS ABROAD: Iraqis living abroad can vote from Friday through Sunday at designated polling stations in 14 countries. Only those who registered in advance in person at the polling sites are eligible to cast ballots. Expatriate voting will be monitored by the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, which works with U.N. agencies. CutlineMaya Alleruzzo/associated pressCutlinefile/associated press