Voters, ballots protected for Constitutional Referendum
BAGHDAD, Iraq – For one crucial day, Baghdad neighborhoods were not rattled by loud explosions from suicide bombers. As voters headed to the polls—from Taji in the north to Mahmudiyah in the south—Baghdad districts were cocooned in an aura of relative peace and quiet Oct. 15.
From 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Task Force Baghdad officials said there were only nine attacks associated with the Constitutional Referendum: one improvised explosive device, two mortar/rocket, two rocket-propelled grenade and four small-arms fire attacks.
Thanks to the tight rings of security surrounding the more than 1,300 polling sites in the Baghdad area, no terrorists were able to penetrate the cordons to carry out an attack.
Throughout the day, Iraqi security forces had the primary responsibility for site security. As voters entered the polling stations at local area schools and government buildings surrounded by coils of concertina wire, Iraqi Army Soldiers and Iraqi Police kept a sharp eye out for suspicious activity and provided a solid line of defense against attackers.
Task Force Baghdad Soldiers assisted Iraqi forces with backup security operations along outer perimeters by enforcing no-traffic zones around polling sites.
More than 250,000 new voters in the Baghdad area turned out to cast their ballot for the Constitutional Referendum. This includes some areas in north, south and west Baghdad which did not participate in the January elections.
Overall, about 15.5 million of Iraq's 26 million people were registered to vote.
At least one polling station, in the Abu Ghraib district, ran out of ballots near the end of the day and had to be re-supplied to accommodate the local residents waiting to vote.
Security on Oct. 15 extended to the ballots themselves. Task Force Baghdad officials said no ballots were stolen or otherwise compromised in the Baghdad area during the referendum process.
IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE TO ACCOMPANY THIS RELEASE. E-MAIL CPICPRESSDESK@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL TO OBTAIN THE PHOTOS.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – An Iraqi Police officer frisks a local resident before he heads into a polling station to vote on the Constitutional Referendum Oct. 15. (U.S. Army photo)
BAGHDAD, Iraq – An Iraqi Soldier talks with local residents as they wait outside a Baghdad polling station prior to voting Oct. 15. (U.S. Army photo)
BAGHDAD, Iraq – An Iraqi Police officer guards a polling site as local residents line up to be searched before entering to vote Oct. 15. (U.S. Army photo)
BAGHDAD, Iraq –Iraqi Soldiers keep a polling site secure as Iraqi men head in to vote on the Constitutional Referendum Oct. 15. (U.S. Army photo)
BAGHDAD, Iraq – As his colleague searches waiting voters in the background, an Iraqi Soldier keeps a watchful eye out for suspicious activity at a Baghdad polling station Oct. 15. (U.S. Army photo)
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS RELEASE, CONTACT THE TASK FORCE BAGHDAD PUBLIC AFFAIRS PLANS AND OPERATIONS NCO, SGT. FIRST CLASS DAVID ABRAMS AT: DAVID.ABRAMS@ID3.ARMY.MIL
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