HUSAYBAH, Iraq -- Record numbers of citizens turned out to vote for a permanent Iraqi government here Dec. 15.
“No one voted in the last election, so every person who votes here today is a victory,” said Master Sgt. David Minter, senior enlisted advisor to 6th Civil Affairs Group’s Al Qaim Regional Civil-Military Operations Center.
Husaybah was cleared of most insurgent activity in November during Operation Steel Curtain, an offensive undertaken by multiple Coalition Force and Iraqi infantry battalions to secure the Iraqi-Syrian border.
In stark contrast to the last vote, the lines to pass through security and into the polling center extended around the block. Thousands of Iraqi men and women braved the minor but not-inconsequential danger of improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance to take part in electing their government.
When the polling station opened at 7 a.m., the streets were empty. But by 7:30 a.m. lines of determined Iraqis had formed in front of metal detectors manned by Iraqi soldiers. They quickly passed into and through the olive drab tents set up on a soccer pitch by Marines from Company L, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and 6th CAG.
Only an hour and a half later, the street in front of the field was clogged with hundreds of voters.
This election marks the third vote held this year by the Iraqi government to establish rule of law and autonomous government. It is the first held in accordance with rules outlined in the Iraqi constitution, approved by Iraqi voters Oct. 15.